Toxic Stress versus ADHD In Children, pt 2

What is toxic stress? How is it different from other types of stress? Welcome, as we continue to investigate the oft misdiagnosis of ADHD when trauma is the culprit of unwanted behaviors and subpar academic performance.

Types Of Stress

Positive Stress:

“A positive stress response is a normal stress response and is essential for the growth and development of a child. Positive stress responses are infrequent, short-lived, and mild. The child is supported through this stressful event with strong social and emotional buffers such as reassurance and parental protection. The child gains motivation and resilience from every positive stress response, and the biochemical reactions that occur with such a stressful event return to baseline [5]. Examples include meeting new people or learning a new task.” [1]

Tolerable Stress: “Tolerable stress responses are more severe, frequent or sustained. The body responds to a greater degree, and these biochemical responses have the potential to negatively affect brain architecture. Examples include divorce or the death of a loved one. In tolerable stress responses, once the adversity is removed, the brain and organs recover fully given the condition that the child is protected with responsive relationships and strong social and emotional support.” [2]

Toxic Stress: “Toxic stress results in prolonged activation of the stress response, with a failure of the body to recover fully. It differs from a normal stress response in that there is a lack of caregiver support, reassurance, or emotional attachments. The insufficient caretaker support prevents the buffering of the stress response or the return of the body to baseline function. Examples of toxic stress include abuse, neglect, extreme poverty, violence, household dysfunction, and food scarcity. Caretakers with substance abuse or mental health conditions also predispose a child to a toxic stress response. Exposure to less severe yet chronic, ongoing daily stressors can also be toxic to children [14]. Early life toxic stressors increase one’s vulnerability to maladaptive health outcomes such as an unhealthy lifestyle, socioeconomic inequity, and poor health; however, these stressors do not solely predict or determine an adult’s behavior or health [10,14].” [3]

This study by the National Institute of Health beautifully describes the different types of stress and the consequence of that stress. Often, resiliency is built with healthy stress, our bodies recover and our brains aren’t affected at all. Toxic stress is unattended, caretakers fail to protect, and there are long term consequences including lower IQ, failure to thrive, and a host of physical issues. Early intervention is crucial and recognizing unhealthy attachment styles can help mitigate damage to the developing brain. Toxic stress trauma mimics ADHD and therefore misdiagnosis lead to medicated but not treated children.

How does toxic stress mimic ADHD? We will explore further in tomorrow’s post.

As always, I will never stop fighting for those who can’t and therefore, I remain humbled for this platform, because I truly believe, when we know better, we do better.

Attachment Styles is an important concept to explore here, we covered those in this podcast episode with LMFT, Eric Cuni

Toxic Stress versus ADHD

She is the kid the teacher expels to the hallway, she sits in the hallway were everybody sees the disruptive kid, her head often down on the desk where she replays the night before, and feels intense sting of rejection from her teacher. She closes her eyes tightly, but the scenes still play out vividly. Dad hitting mom, and then mom finishing a bottle of wine alone as they both hid in her closet. She waited for the inevitable blackout that would result in temporary safety and maybe even some sleep. Once her intoxicated parents were both asleep, she climbed in her own bed, tears soaked her dingy pillow case. Her sobs were silent, but her pain intense, and her body stayed in full fight or flight mode, her brain unable to process any of it. She slept with trauma interrupting her brain development.

The man she called dad spent time in and out of jail, and when he wasn’t chasing the bottom of a bottle, she adored him; those times were rare. Her stomach ached because the night before was also absent of food and water. She had taken seven trips around the sun, and her lived experience affected every fiber of her being, including her ability to stay on task, refrain from outbursts, or to self regulate when she grasped an academic concept before the teacher completed instruction. No one at school intended to miss the obvious, daddy was good at covering the bruises, and mommy lied for him. Frustrated, her teacher ordered a battery of test–with confidence she had ADHD, but the results shocked everyone. She is a good academic student, and unanswered parental communication frustrated her teacher.

Test results demonstrated no indication of ADHD, and so the issue of toxic stress was considered. According to a Harvard University study, “childhood toxic stress is severe, prolonged, or repetitive adversity with a lack of the necessary nurturance or support of a caregiver to prevent an abnormal stress response.”  Suddenly, those entrusted with her academic care realized the effects of her environment mimicked ADHD in her developing brain.

The National Institute For Health published an article addressing this disturbing trend, and also delineating the difference between toxic stress and ADHD. Sadly, many children are given an ADHD diagnosis that follows them their entire lives, ensuring they are medicated improperly and the genesis of their behavioral issues are not addressed. The same study by the NIH draws a firm connection between toxic stress and lifelong physical issues. In order to help children, or surviving adults, we must dig deep into trauma work, healing toxic stress and giving the survivor the best possible outcome. A successful outcome is coupled with knowledge and understanding of children, trauma, and the developing brain. This series will address all of these things as we continue to highlight child abuse awareness month. There is no excuse for abuse, and we will never stop fighting to help survivors and those that love them heal, and live the life designed for them to live.

That little girl is here to help you understand all of it, because when you know better, you do better.

Keep it here on the blog all week as we attempt to help caregivers understand when there may be more at play than a brain that struggles to focus. We will help you understand, and pray you then either find some peace and compassion for yourself, or the much needed knowledge to help others.

In the meantime, here is a podcast episode where licensed EMDR consultants dives into brain science a little deeper.

Thursday Tunes

“Because He Lives” by David Crowder

If you are following me, in any of the forms in which I show up in the world, you know that it requires some work just to stay on the healthy side of all the trauma. I remember singing this song as a child and church, and I wasn’t sure that I believed it. A few years ago I ran into this version of this song by David Crowder. I love the authenticity in which he sings the lyrics, and the emotions literally reverberate off of his guitar strings. My favorite lyric in this entire song is this: “this child can chase uncertain days because He lives!” As we barrel towards the day that we celebrate that empty tomb I hope that you find some hope in this song today like I do.

If you came across this blog and have no idea about the redemption story God has continued to tell in my life, check out this podcast. My prayer is that you would find the same peace that I have. Because, He lives.

This is my redemption Story

“Storm”

Lifehouse

“How long have I been in this storm?
So overwhelmed by the ocean’s shapeless form
Water’s getting harder to tread
With these waves crashing over my head
If I could just see you
Everything would be alright
If I’d see you
This darkness will turn to light
And I will walk on water
And you will catch me if I fall
And I will get lost into your eyes
I know everything will be alright
I know everything is alright
I know you didn’t bring me out here to drown
So why am I ten feet under and upside down?
Barely surviving has become my purpose
‘Cause I’m so used to living underneath the surface”

This song was first introduced to me by my friend Crissy. I had not known Crissy for very long after moving into that dark apartment after fleeing that domestic violence marriage. But, we sat in the middle of the night just miles away from each other typing the lyrics back-and-forth to the song. That middle of the night chat led me to borrow Crissy’s faith and believed that God did not, in fact, bring me out here to drown. We talk a lot about community and Crissy is a major component to my healing we talk about that in the episode below. It is my prayer that you will find community and if not please reach out to me and we will take care of that quickly!

Get you people with some faith you can borrow!

Bring The Rain

Mercy Me

“I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I’ve gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It’s never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times”

This song by MercyMe literally invites the God of the universe to bring hardship into our lives. It seems a little weird, but there is the sweet place of allowing him to show us what He can do with all of our pain. I wish I could say that I never thought of turning my back on God, but in those times when I feel that way I always land back at the same place the only place that makes sense. I talk about it in this episode called raising my Ebenezer.

Bring The Rain, I trust You.

Center Of The Mark

4 Him


“Draw back your bow, let love go
Shoot straight for the heart
With all of your might, set your sight
Take aim from the start
To love God, love people
That’s the center of the mark”

This song is 30+ years old, but it IS the reason I do what I do, because YOU MATTER, and I will spend the rest of my life telling you that. So, one day in April of 2020, I started telling this to the world. Because loving people IS ALL THAT MATTERS!

My heart and my mission.

My prayer for you is that today you will know that you got this, and we are here to help.

Carrying Trauma Into Adulthood, What now? Special Guest, Sherrie Pilkington

READERS: This is a transcript of a podcast, and is not meant to present as a completed grammatically correct piece of written work. We provide these transcripts for our heart of hearing community and for those of you who prefer to listen to the podcast through the blog. We would love for you to be part of the Wednesdays with Watson family you can do that by clicking here.

Amy Watson  0:05  
Hey everybody, and welcome back to the Wednesdays with Watson podcast, you are listening to a donor funded podcast, I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that. For those of you new to the podcast, our mission here is to help people via story. People that will talk about their their journeys on the road of hope and healing where trauma is present. That is our mission is to educate you and to share stories of hope and healing with you. Secondary to that mission is providing pro bono counseling for people that cannot afford it. And we are so honored to be able to do that, with the donations that are coming into the podcast. If you would like to be part of that, all you have to do is click that contact me button, there will be several ways for you to do that. We would love your support. Another way you can support the podcast is right there. When you’re in your app, go ahead and rate and review us even if you don’t like what you hear, we want to hear from you. And the way that algorithms work is the more rates the more reviews, the higher it will come up and the search engines the people who are looking for hope and healing. today. I’m so excited to bring the second episode and the second half of season three. It is a season that we are calling trauma spaces, places and aces and so on the podcast before this and you can go back and listen to that if you want it is in the show notes. But I spent a fair amount of time really educating on some trauma terms and introducing the place that we are going to be talking about that and that is trauma in the home. And the space is childhood trauma. Today. This guest is Sherrie Pilkington, host of the finding God in our pain podcast. Sherrie is a podcasting friend of mine. And if we’re ever in the same city together, we might need some bail money but but she has a story of continued redemption and healing to share with you guys. And I can’t wait for you to hear it. So let’s dive into this conversation with my friend Sherrie Pilkington. And first of all, Sherrie, hope I said your name properly. Did I do that? 

Sherrie Pilkington  2:10  
You did really well actually because I get a lot of different variations of that. But you nailed it. 

Amy Watson  2:14  
Well, welcome to the podcast. I have here with me speaking of humdinger of last names  my co host Crissy Lougridge, Crissy, this has just become normal for us say 

Crissy Loughridge  2:30  
hey to the people.

Amy Watson  2:33  
Sherrie, I would love to formally introduce you to the podcast. As I mentioned, you and I met at a podcasting event PodMov in Nashville. I think that we all agree that there’s podcasting events are more for the social aspect of it than for the learning aspect of it. And I said, I sat down on a bus beside you after a party that iHeart Radio shout out I iheart had for PodMov 2021 in Nashville. And before you even opened your mouth, I knew there was something special about you. There’s just there’s just something very special that suffering does to us.

And, and so I knew that I wanted this day to come when I would have you on my podcast. And so to formally introduce you, you are the host of your own podcast called Finding God in your pain. And unlike me, people know what your podcast is about by the title. So that is why you’re here today because you have and continue to find God in your pain. You are the mom of two and probably would have chosen this first but the grandmother of two as well. 

Sherrie Pilkington  3:40  
Grandmother to five, 

grandmother five. How did I forget that? Okay, grandmother of five. Wow. So youngest and his wife are talking about having more. So how excited? 

Amy Watson  3:49  
Oh, yeah, I bet you are. Yeah, most parents say that they would have them first. Well, thank you for being here. But let’s just jump right in. So this is a season that we spent the first half of the season speaking about an ace that it talks about trauma. And so you are my first guest in the second half of it. And we’ve asked the same question. This is one of Chris’s questions to everybody. And so I’m not going to steal it from you, Crris, you get the first question to our to our esteemed guests here today. 

Crissy Loughridge  4:16  
All right. I’d love asking this question. What is your favorite thing about how God made you?

Sherrie Pilkington  4:24  
funny when you guys gave me a heads up on that question, I thought that was you got a lot of wisdom with that because people who come from a background of trauma I have sometimes have a hard time answering questions that give a personal identity to them. So it did stumped me and I did have to give some thought to it and process it with the Lord and ultimately what it came down to is that I I am very grateful for the fact that God has made me what’s the word unoffended. I am not easily offended and I believe that is such a gift to have because I can let people be people and I’m not keeping score or worried about

what somebody else is doing or trying to be ever in somebody else’s yard judging them. And so I feel like that’s just a sliver of gold for me that I’m extremely grateful for.

Amy Watson  5:09  
And true. Just the little bit that I know about you. True is so true and that and I Crissy, what a great point when she said that people who have trauma are going to struggle to answer this question, Did that ever occur to you? As we’ve been asking it? 

Crissy Loughridge  5:23  
It hasn’t occurred to me, but it makes a lot of sense. And I’m really glad we’re asking it. Because I’ve had to answer it. I know, it’s, it’s hard. And it forces you to look at the good of what God has done instead of Oh, I wish I had I wish I did. I wish. And so I like it for that reason. 

Amy Watson  5:41  
Yeah. And it really pushes us into this bigger question. Do we believe in a God or a Creator? Right. And so we could talk about that forever? I love that answer. And by the way, that’s one of my favorite things about you too. Well, as I mentioned, we took some time on the podcast episode before this one. So talk about some terms that we hear when we discuss trauma, because most people Sherrie, think when they hear trauma, that you have to be a Vietnam vet or something. And, and it comes with the stigma, right. And so that episode, while you don’t have to listen to it to understand this one, that one before this does talk about that, and it does accomplish my goal of educating you guys about trauma, and what it means. And doing that I provide, I decided to add a term that’s fancy in the psychological world called adverse childhood experiences, since we are focusing on childhood trauma. And it’s a thing so listeners out there, if you just Google adverse childhood experiences, you’re going to get way more information than you ever want. And you’re also going to get a quiz. Because this is a widely accepted measurement of how much a child’s developing brain is affected by different types of trauma. And they’re in its 10 categories. And so Sherrie, you and I process this, and I really loved doing this, we process this episode on Voxer, which for those of you that don’t know what that is just an audio app, Sherrie and I are talking back and forth, and we’re growing in the Lord together, and we’re coming to aha moments and all the things. And I thought for sure, when I asked you this question, you were gonna say, No, I’m not doing that at all. You’re, you’re not allowed to do that. But I asked you if I could rapid fire these 10 questions at you. And so listeners these 10 questions help the experts know, what level if you will have trauma that a child has experienced, because they then can clinically with all the studies and all the things kind of kind of within a range understand how a child is going to be affected. So these are rapid fire questions. You are so brave, probably the bravest, a guest I’ve ever had on this one. So I’m going to so these are the 10 General adverse childhood experiences recognized in the psychological world as going to affect you as an adult, which is our point here. Here we go. Rapid fire, so no, yes or no answers. yes or no answer, my friend because we’re gonna have plenty of time to talk, I promise. All right. Did you experience physical abuse in your home as a child? 

Sherrie Pilkington  8:15  
Yes.

Amy Watson  8:17  
I’m going to get through this without crying. Did you experience sexual abuse? In your home? 

Sherrie Pilkington  8:24  
No, I did not. You did not. Did you experience verbal abuse? 

Yes. 

Amy Watson  8:30  
physical neglect. 

Sherrie Pilkington  8:32  
Yes. emotional neglect. Yes. 

Amy Watson  8:36  
Substance abuse. 

Sherrie Pilkington  8:38  
No. 

Amy Watson  8:39  
Okay. Incarcerated relative. 

Sherrie Pilkington  8:42  
No. 

Amy Watson  8:43  
Domestic violence. 

Sherrie Pilkington  8:44  
Yes. 

Amy Watson  8:45  
Divorce. 

Sherrie Pilkington  8:47  
Yes. 

Amy Watson  8:47  
Mental illness. 

Yes. 

Okay. So I was doing the math in my head, I think it’s a six or seven, your scores of six or seven.

Okay, and so let’s talk about what that means. Okay. So that so that so the pine tree Institute, which is one of many people who deal with these adverse childhood experiences. Before we get there, though, Crissy, you had something you wanted to ask here that you think is going to be advantageous to other listeners? Can you can you pop that question in here for me? Yeah. So when I’m looking at those, they’re very specific. And so I wondered if underlying things like if if a parent has

Crissy Loughridge  9:27  
cancer, and there’s the threat of them dying or someone outside of the nuclear family threatens a family member so so that type of thing that maybe isn’t quite in here. I don’t even know where you’d put any of those in there but they would be real and

large and affecting the childhood experience. 

Amy Watson  9:51  
Yeah, so I’m so glad that you you added that in here because I don’t want I don’t want is for people to hear Sherrie’s episode today and go Well, I only have one of those

And so that, you know, I’m, I’m fine. I’m fine. I don’t need any help. And so Crissy, your question speaks to something very, very interesting, especially coming from you is the way you just phrase that question is do other things that threaten the security of the child, whether it be a sick parent, a suicidal parent, they are whatever that threatens that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs food, shelter, water, sleep, rest? Yes, is the answer to your question. And so, so the experts say if you’re saying if you have a score between one through three without a physical adverse childhood experience, and so a physical abuse is one of them, then you already get pushed into the next category. one through three, you’re moderately likely to have some toxic stress moving into adulthood, and we’re going somewhere with this, I promise, guys. So you blew that out of the water? Sherrie My so did I. Okay, so anything above a three, so from three to 10, you are 100% likely to experience toxic stress through your life. Your body, your brain, your the child’s developing brain is also experiencing that toxic stress. And so there are damages that happen as a result of it with a score higher than four. 

Crissy Loughridge  11:26  
Can you explain what toxic stress me? Yeah, so toxic stress. We talked about a little bit on the on the episode before this. That’s a really good question. Crissy. Toxic stress is stress that affects us at the cellular level the most. And this is where epigenetics comes in. We talked about that in the episode before this too. But yes, Crissy when we experience toxic stress at the cellular level at the DNA level, that DNA is actually altered and and the way it works or doesn’t work. This is why we get defense, we get diseases as an autoimmune issues and all the stuff when we see childhood trauma, because it affects us on a, on a basic, basic level. It’s not just your normal stressed out and traffic stress, it’s toxic stress, it’s exactly the word you think think about toxic dump in your brain, and then what it does to a child’s brain. And so that is and so you know, stress is not always a bad thing. But so Sherrieat a score six or seven there.

Amy Watson  12:32  
I wonder something? What would have happened, you think

if you would have known this information 30 years ago, 

Sherrie Pilkington  12:40  
wow.

It would have empowered me to find peace faster, to walk in freedom.

And to pursue the calling on my life. I feel like that’s three areas that I could have definitely right off the top of my head, I definitely could have benefited from had I known the impact of cellular level damage. 

Amy Watson  13:05  
Right? And we’re going to get to parenting later. But Crrissy, how do you think you would be different? If you think I would, 

Crissy Loughridge  13:12  
I would have more grace for myself and for my responses to things because, you know, I’m typically going to beat myself up for for what why is that affected me? Why don’t I feel good today in any number of things. But understanding that this is traumatic, and you have a reason and and it would it would give me the freedom to give myself some grace. 

Sherrie Pilkington  13:38  
And you know, Amy, something that you just said, it reminds me of an incident that I’m watching today with someone that I know and there is a lot of there’s physical abuse and domestic violence, there are fits of rage from a parent. And I’m watching the smallest one who is a toddler. And but he has endured this since he was an infant and now he has fits of rage and his identity is in question and he’s gravitating to the parent that he wants the most attention from. And so I’m looking at all of this, because I don’t think trauma has to be a car accident or even get to that physical, you know, all of those things to that level. When you’re an infant and a toddler. I think in the environment, it would appear to me that in the environment, they are absorbing these things, they have no ability to process they have no point of reference to understand, but yet they are taking on all of this that they’re seeing and hearing and experiencing in front of them. 

Amy Watson  14:33  
100% And I’m so I’m different because if somebody like a quiz gives me a reason to feel like I feel to her point just now with freedom. It’s like oh, okay, well, I you know, there’s a reason for me to feel some of these things. But to your point, though, Sherrie, the more we understand this, and this is the point we could stop trauma begetting trauma and stop the generational curse.

Exodus four tells us that the second, third and fourth generation. And so just understanding adverse childhood experiences, and I’m using that term interchangeably with trauma, because there’s people out there that says, I don’t have trauma, but I have some of those adverse childhood experiences. And so it had I known this information.

A long time ago, I would have not ended up in a lot of places, I ended up doing a lot of things I did, because I just didn’t understand what I didn’t understand. And so for those of you listening out there, and the other thing I want to do here is I don’t want to freak parents out thinking you’ve screwed up your kids, because we’re all going to make mistakes. But the the the trauma, or the adverse childhood experience at the cellular level, like Sherrie just gave an example of this child is not only watching it, but is absorbing it. And we know this because kids, babies don’t even get hunger pains. They they feel uncomfortable, they cry, the need is met, we’re good. But when we talk about trauma at the most basic level, and we’re talking about the baby, throw in the bottle on the floor,

babies uncomfortable cries, parent ignores cries a little bit more parent ignores more finally, and crying doesn’t do me anything. So I’m just going to be uncomfortable. And their brains to your point Sherrie are absorbing that. And so as we move into your story, though, I would love to know more about some of your questions, per se for for Sherrie, too. 

Crissy Loughridge  16:30  
Well, one of the one of the questions you listed one of the aces you listed was mental illness in the home, can you share a little bit more about the mental illness in in the home where you grew up? 

Sherrie Pilkington  16:41  
Sure. My mother, We later discovered she was diagnosed with bipolar. But who was talking about, you know, bipolar situations or conditions back in the 60s 70s, and very early 80s, no one that I knew of I had never heard of that term. And the other thing is, we never got our clinically diagnosed. But my siblings, and I have a brother and a sister picked up on these personality, she had a second personality that was childlike. And while she did not get diagnosed, we were still subjected to those personalities. And again, we wouldn’t have termed it that way. When we were younger, we just couldn’t understand why you couldn’t get through to her. She would be acting like a child or laughing like a child or ridicule. And you try like, Mom, what are you doing? And then she would not acknowledge you. So it was just very strange. And so we just tried to get out of the room, because we didn’t understand what we were supposed to be doing. So she had that bipolar condition where you just did not know which end was up, you did not know what personality you were going to get. And you didn’t know weather today was going to be an okay day. Maybe I’m used the indoor broom on the outdoor porch. And so that was all wrong. And then, but yesterday I did it now was fine. Or the way I wash the dishes was okay today, but it’s not okay. Yesterday, I mean, the next day. So it was the way that I described my childhood is that I never had anywhere solid to rest my feet. And that’s contributed to issues that I grew you know how when you’re trying to make sense of something, I was just speaking about this child and so you’re trying to make sense of something that you have no point of reference for. So what do you do you conjure up your own lens of looking at life and trying to function in what you’ve experienced, but don’t know how to process it? 

Amy Watson  18:29  
Because Because like you said, you have no context for it. Right? You have zero context like as far as you knew everybody else’s houses were like that too. Sure. Yeah. You know, and Crissy often is one of the things why this works so much. And you said this Crissy in my episode, that you interviewed me, like our childhoods couldn’t be any different. And so

you don’t know what you what you don’t know. You know, and so I, I have a question that I didn’t prep you for, but it’s easy for you to answer because I’m just curious. What where are you in the birth order?

Sherrie Pilkington  19:05  
 I am the middle child, the one that’s overlooked and ignored. The one that’s really, it wasn’t me. I was kind of mouthy. So I didn’t hide but it was my sister who got looked over really, to really dig out like she stayed out of a lot of trouble, but was in trouble she was doing so she got in trouble. But but because she was just ignored, 

Amy Watson  19:22  
younger or older than you younger. Got Yes, she is younger. I have an older brother one. My brother is one year older my sister is two years younger. The reason I asked you that question is because I will talk about this through this episode, as we see a lot of children turning into caretakers in homes like yours. And and it’s interesting to me that you’re a middle child because normally you see that in the older child. But finally you you were like I am I’m going to leave this house I know at some point, but I don’t know when and you said something to me. I don’t think you know you said to me, is I needed

To make sure my mom was okay. And I needed to make sure my sister was okay. And it fired off all these things in my head, because that is so, so typical. And these and these traumatic homes were, where were that are not healthy where you became the adult. So, during our prep interview said something to me that I want to highlight here, I want to ask a question before that, how old were you when you left home, and then tell us why you finally left home.

Sherrie Pilkington  20:31  
I left home at 18 because I had just graduated. Because on each last day of the year, school year, it would be my birthday. So I just turned 18. And I’ll say a couple of months later I had so when I turned 18, I was planning to get out of there. But I’d got kicked out before I could leave on my own. And you told me tell you what, I get kicked out. You know, I do not remember why. And it could have been that I use the wrong wash cloth for the dishes. I don’t know, it was just that random and that unpredictable. So it could have very well been but she had kicked my brother out. So now it was my turn to get kicked out. And then of course, my sister coming up behind me as soon as she graduated, and she graduated at 17. She got kicked out. 

Amy Watson  21:10  
Wow.

Yeah, there’s a pause there for a reason, because that just even makes me shake my head. I’m so sorry. 

Sherrie Pilkington  21:20  
That Thank you. I appreciate that. And then my dad who’s never in the picture, he shows up to pick me up. I was like, wow.

Crissy Loughridge  21:25  
Okay.

One of the things you mentioned Amy in the prep, you left your house with survival skills, but no relationship skills, Can you expound on that a little bit,

Sherrie Pilkington  21:37  
I would not have termed it that way. When I first left the house, all I could think of is I want to get out of here. I was already preparing to leave she just got to me before I could get out the door and I left the house feeling like finally I’m getting ready live my life I do not have her hanging over my head. But I did not realize that the lens with which I had created in order to survive in that

atmosphere that condition that environment was what was going to equip me for later because it did not equip me at all when I was outside of that environment. The skills that I had created did not serve me well at all in relationships with people who had no attachment to that type of abuse or understanding of who I was or what I’ve been through. So yeah, I ran headlong into a wall but not really realizing it first because the time that I went for counseling

I didn’t I wouldn’t have said it was my survival skills I would have said somebody else’s making my life difficult that’s what I would have responded to what I didn’t make the connection that I had to take responsibility for that which lens was kind of backtrack a little bit to your point I that was one thing that I could have been equipped with was taking responsibility for my life in a way that would have produced a much more mature and beneficial lifestyle with relationships and whatnot. 

Amy Watson  23:05  
Except you understand that there is no way you that could have happened right because you did not have it modeled for you and so for you to take responsibility for something would be like somebody asking me to send Crissy to the moon yeah.

So you so I want to I want you to give yourself grace that Crissy just talked about like if had we understood had you understood what you’ve been through 30 years ago, you would have walked out and and next time I see you and give you a big giant hug and give you a big pat on the back and say you made it it was those survival skills that made you make it and I did the same thing I aged out the system at 18 went to college and and we’re not here to talk about my story but I did the same thing. And here’s the issue listeners and Crissy can even speak to this a little bit the problem with those of us who have incredible survival skills is that those skills is a skill that the world denominates or pays us and the thing that matters right so survival skills aren’t going to run are going to run I’m not going to quit something knock me down finally get back in and and the world absolutely rewards that with the green folding stuff. And so why would we want any other skill but I want you want to speak into you there’s no way you could have learned or known to take responsibility for your actions. However, there is a point where and I tell Crissy this all the time. One of the reasons why I do the podcast is because my power company doesn’t care that I had trauma, they care that I write them a check. So we got to even though it’s not fair, those of us with these stories have got the do the thing. But most of us before we do the thing, do a bunch of other things in between. So you turned 18 You left your house tell us about what happened then.

Sherrie Pilkington  24:54  
When I left my house I was determined to get well I had a job I just got a job. I’m so happy

had the job but I needed a car. And I needed an apartment somewhere else to stay, I wasn’t gonna stay in the area where my mom was at, I was gonna go back to an old neighborhood, or at least in that area, where I had gone to school with people prior to moving where we were. And so when I went back there, I just wanted an apartment, a car and a job. That was all I was worried about, wasn’t worried about dating, none of that stuff. And so I connected up with a friend of mine who she had gone to school,

and just started to hang out with her. And so one night we were out dancing and

her friends, she knew a friend, let me see if I can get this right. One of her friends showed up and she introduced me to him. And then the guy in tow with him. She he introduced us to all of us. So then we hung out for like 10 months because I was not into he kept asking me to date I saw him date and other people wasn’t interested, just fine. Have yourself a good time. We enjoy dance and him out usually ended up on the floor longer than anybody else. And then we’d all go to dinner or breakfast at Denny’s or whatever. And then we’d all go our separate ways. Well, I went my separate way. I can’t speak for everybody else. But But I but again, I just was finally he asked me out one more time and he’s just like, I just really wish you’d go out with me, we have a lot of fun. And I just think we would make a really great couple something along those lines, because but I don’t have as much fun with you as I have with other people. So I was like, okay, all right, whatever. So we go out and I you know, I’ve really the fun just continued and we connected on humor. Before we even started dating. Our relationship was built on humor, the marriage when we’d have tough times, we were together a little over 33 years, we laughed through some of the hard parts or just found some common ground of humor, dumb, stupid humor that you know, couples share and, you know, nicknames you call each other things like that. But and, and so that kept us going even to this day, what I missed the most about him is his humor.

Amy Watson  26:53  
So let me ask you this. So we’ve not really talked about God yet at all. When you got when you got married, were you walking with the Lord? And was Larry a Christian.

Sherrie Pilkington  27:05  
Funny thing, and I don’t know if funny is the right word is really not laughable. But I, I got saved at 13 and I an aunt, I credit, one of my aunts for modeling who God was in a realistic way, and continue continually drawing us into a relationship with God. She played the piano. And when you were at her house, she was extremely generous. And she, you know, fed you and sang hymns with you. I love the hymns. I grew up on the hymns because of her.

And so her modeling who God was was always in the back of my mind, because I was getting mixed signals and mixed messages at home. I mean, they would talk about God, but nobody really rely on God. And we’d only go to church when things were really bad like dad had left us or something, then we’d go to church. So it was a lot of mixed messages. But rainy, her name is Lorraine and we call her aunt Rainey was very consistent. So I came to the knowledge of Christ at 12 years old professed him as my Lord and Savior or his salvation. But then He later becomes the Lord of my life, because you know, you can have salvation, but not really make him the Lord of your life. And that was always a saving grace for me if you will, because once I was saved, I began to read the word I did not understand it, I probably read the word through three or four times the whole Bible through three or four times between 12 and leaving the house at 18. It’s not so much that I walked

with the Lord, I just felt his presence, I felt I had this underlying feeling that what was going on was not right and to hang on. And not that anybody told me that but except that, you know, I’m praying and I’m reading the Word. And when I was hanging out with my friends, I was desperate to go anywhere because mom wouldn’t let you go anywhere. Shouldn’t like you answered the phone. She didn’t want to go anywhere. And when I finally got a chance to go somewhere, you know, we’re probably doing stuff we shouldn’t be doing but so it’s not like I was walking with the Lord but I knew his presence. And so when I leave home strangely enough, I love the Lord. He had been so good, so kind, so faithful to me, but for some reason I walked out the door going, Okay, now I got to make this happen. I gotta do life. And so no, I was not walking to the Lord. I gave my husband a reason to believe I was a believer at all. And he was not a believer at the time that we got married.

Amy Watson  29:07  
So tell us about the journey of when. So you got married? Actually, before before I asked that question. I do want to ask you something cuz I think this is more for the listeners out there. So you let you when you left home, you walked away from the Lord. I did something similar. I got in an air quoting When I say this church hurt, I stopped going to church and and I wasn’t a bad kid. But there are there’s a question I want to ask you. And this is really for those of you listening.

A lot of women especially who have been through what you and I have been through and what listeners have been through because their brain didn’t develop properly and attachment disorders and all the things. We find a lot of promiscuity. We find a lot of

partying, we find a lot of drug abuse, we find a lot of that. Was that ever part of your story before you met and married Larry?

Sherrie Pilkington  30:09  
Not a lot. But I when I was in high school, I had a boyfriend who was not in school. As a matter of fact, he was like, I guess, please tell me that all of us have a bum magnet in our pocket during high school or something like that. Because I dated a guy who was not in school. He was on probation. Yes. You know, what was I think, and I do not know. But anyway, it gave me an excuse not to date the guys in school because I was scared to death, mom’s idea of abstinence, or at least teaching you about relationship was get pregnant. And you’ll need to find somewhere else to live because you’re not living here. So that was my introduction to sex Ed if you will, as far as being careful when you’re on a date. So all I can think of is oh, crap. I can No, how do you prevent all that? Okay, well, I’m just not gonna date. But I do end up having sex with the guy. But I was so guilt ridden like, and I didn’t know I. It’s not that I felt like I was raped. I don’t. But I didn’t know how to say no, I didn’t know I had a voice. I didn’t know that I had options that you could speak up and that somebody would actually listen to you. And so I ended up having sex with him, but it’s like three or four times and I’m like, I can’t he wasn’t using any sort of protection. So I’m like, I’m out of here. I can’t do this. I don’t not want to end up pregnant. Oh, my gosh, not to you. 

Amy Watson  31:23  
yeah, I mean, at least I had some sense. I guess I was thinking like the wrong guy. So I break up with him. And then I date a few other guys. In course, I don’t know what it is. Maybe this is not not the right thing to say. But it was my experience. My Country guys were more respectable than my city guys, my city has really pushed the limits so so I was able to maintain abstinence, all those My friend says oral sex and all the still sex. 

There was some of those behaviors because I know when I when I went to aged out of the system, and walked away from the Lord really, is when I may, I wasn’t I wasn’t promiscuous, but I married somebody who was not a Christian, which I had been taught my whole life right along with, you know, hellfire and brimstone marry a Christian hellfire and brimstone marry a Christian. And John was not a Christian and I paid for that for a very, very long time. In our prep, he told me that Larry was not a Christian, I would love and I think Crissy would love to know this too, because I’m kind of asking your question.

Tell me about yours and Larry spiritual journey. 

Okay, now I will, if I misunderstood your question, proud of that and put myself out on Front Street. Maybe not forgive me for that. But

okay, our journey, okay. Larry was tender hearted. He really was a tender hearted guy he liked to act like he was, you know, nothing. He was tough, and nothing really bothered him. But he was a very tender hearted guy. And so as I began to talk about the Lord, and of course, this I am flipping the script in his book, I am flipping the script on him, because he has no reason to believe I’m a Christian. But now I’m married. And now I want to live the Christian life. And he’s like, Wait, hold on a second. No, what are you doing? So that is when this lens of how I had created life really got under the heat, if you will, because he’s the one I’m doing life with every day. And now I’m discovering under this pressure, that wait, this, my skills aren’t, aren’t working here, I’m doing nothing but creating strife in this marriage. And he’s got his heels dug and he’s not given up because rightfully so. Right? Um, one way before we’re married, then I want to be another way 

you baited and switched him. I did. 

Sherrie Pilkington  33:37  
I mean, I did. I really did. Not my intention and even thinking about back in highs back in when I was younger and swearing, I swear, I will never let her Let me I will never let her make me cry again. I will never cry a sweat. And I even had to repent for that later. Because I didn’t understand that when you’re swearing like that, and taking on these oaths, they cost you something. And so I had to later repent for that, and to release those types of things, and even those types of attitudes. So he, he does eventually come to the knowledge of Christ. We were at some play. It was like a hellfire and brimstone type production by one of the churches and he goes forward. Now did his walk immediately take ground? No, it did not. There was that whole struggle between soul and spirit, what the soul already knew what the Spirit is trying to redeem. And there’s that whole struggle. So it wasn’t a perfect walk. But then again, you know, who has the perfect role, right. But it did take him a while. And I would even venture to say that in the last four.

Last four years of his life, that was the strongest I had ever seen him walking with regard to the people that he he put his self in like on a constant basis, pastors and strong Christian men, and he was leading people to the Lord. He was so cute though. He would talk to them about why they needed Jesus and why he was such a good

Man a good God to know. And then he would bring like, hey, come over here they want to except you need to lead them to

wasn’t quite competent enough to say the prayer, you know, confession around them confession but the prayer of repentance that’s what I’m looking for. 

Amy Watson  35:13  
That’s so awesome because it means that you brought God into your home, right? 

Sherrie Pilkington  35:19  
Yeah, yeah. You know he was looking at me going girl, you’re a hot mess and you want to try this now but let’s go come on.

Crissy Loughridge  35:26  
In your opinion, how was your adverse childhood experience colored the way you parent? Did that? Can you share with listeners? How if you had any struggles parenting since you didn’t have that model for you? To clear?

Sherrie Pilkington  35:44  
Yeah, it did not even

breach my train of thought until I was pregnant I found out I was pregnant, then I was like, holy moly. I’m going to have a baby, I have no clue how to do this No clue. And that became even more afraid of repeating what because I did not understand right now I think about bipolar. We didn’t know anything about double, you know, dual dual or multi personalities. And so I’m like, This is terrifying me. But it is also the ground in which God showed me who he was as a parent to me. He and He, yeah, he showed me the difference between discipline for the purpose of correction, and abuse. So then I was like, okay, that’s abuse. That’s what I was experiencing. I also put things in place because I did not want to somehow

become her and not realize it. And one time I did, I broke my rule. So my roles were maximum because we did paddle. But it was a maximum of three like they could be fully clothed, because a lot of times we had to have bare legs or bare butt. So they could be fully clothed, maximum three could not do it when I was mad because she would just if she was mad, she would just get on you and not let up until she felt better. And what else did I have? It was a last resort. We had tried everything else we had like a strike three system, there were things that you lost or privileges you lost, or time that you spent without friends, that kind of thing. And so it was the last resort. One time I broke my rule, I paddled my son, when I was mad. And if God corrected me immediately, I go back into my room because I’ve been in his room, I go back to my room and my hand was hurt. And I looked down at my hand had blood on my hand, I absolutely panicked. I ran back into the room, I said, Son, let me see your legs because he had a long head when his dad’s T shirts on se, I thought that was enough, again, didn’t make sure his legs were covered. So when I lifted his shirt, there was nothing on his legs, not marks, not anything. So I had at least caught the shirt. But what I also caught was my hand when I did it, and it made me bleed and it made me hurt. And so the Lord corrected me, I went and got on my knees laid on the floor, I mean, laid on the bed across the bed with just repented to the Lord, because he had already shown me how to correct for the purpose, you know, discipline for the correct for the purpose of correction, and I did not do it. And so I never did that after made sure that, that those three things were in place. Wow. And it’s just being that father, him showing me how he cares for me as a father and understanding his heart for me, by the way that I felt about my children. That was super powerful for me that was transformed, forming for me. 

Amy Watson  38:12  
And that is something I’m just speaking for myself that I wish I could I could I could take to heart a little bit better is is God as my father because as my counselor so often says, Sherrie, what the way you parented your children, you shouldn’t be able to do that. And we go back again to Exodus 34, with the trauma and the sins of the father or cat, or the Bible says the second, the third, the fourth generation. And so you with only Jesus, and I say that really tongue in cheek, because on this podcast, Jesus is the star of the story. And for you to be able to answer that question like you did and that your your children were seemingly normal? I think it probably probably depends on whether you asked that question to them. But But you shouldn’t have been able to do that. And I’m grateful to the star of the story. we’ve alluded a couple times and listeners are probably hanging on by a thread. You move it along in life. You have two children, you’re married, you’re growing in your faith. Marriage not without its issues.

went to counseling, which is another thing that we really focus on in this podcast. Then life changed forever. Please tell us why and how.

Sherrie Pilkington  39:33  
Had no indication whatsoever.

When he left that morning, February 21 2018 everything seemed fine. gave each other a kiss. Hug. Call me later. Love you. You know yes, I’ll call you later.

So everything seemed pretty normal. And then about I’m gonna guess around 1010 30 He calls me to say hey, I’m sick. I don’t feel good. I’m gonna go try to eat but if I can’t eat

I’m going to go home and I said, Okay, well, I have one more stop to make and then I will, you know, or no, at that point, I said, Call me, let me know. And so at about 11, he says, I feel worse, I want to throw up. So I’m going to go home. And that’s when I said, All right, I have one more stop, I will go to the grocery store. And I’ll pick up some ginger ale and crackers and soup in case you start feeling better. I’m still mad at myself to this day, because he’s never sick. And so why didn’t I pick up on anything? It’s not like it was flu season, or at least we had, again, it could have been flu season. He’s just never sick. Well, about 1130.

He, we get a call, my son gets a call from a friend.

And he’s told that your dad’s been in an accident.

You know, I’ve called the ambulance. let your mom know. So my son calls me and I didn’t pick up on it. But he’s in shock. I didn’t, I didn’t pick up on it. And he says, Mom, dad’s been an accident. Do you want me to go? If he had been this right, man, he’d gone. There was no way he would have asked me that. And I said, let me get checks with her. I know he didn’t feel good. Maybe He clipped somebody because our roads are very narrow out here. And my mind is not processing the fact that I don’t know. I don’t know where you’re maybe your mind goes into this place of protection. I guess at least that’s the only thing that makes sense to me. And I said No, honey, don’t worry about it. All right out there. Right now I’m getting ready to head home, I gotta go the grocery store, but I’ll just go check on him. As I’m going out there, I try to call him and he doesn’t answer. I’m thinking, oh, man, this is probably, I wonder if it’s a bad accident. So then I try to call again. And I’m like, Ah, I need you to call me. You know, when I left that ultimately, I thought, What if you got into a head on? Like, what if he would if he was throwing up and he got into a head on accident. So then I’m starting to panic? Well, about that time I sang the same son. The youngest one calls me says Mom, I told me, which is I don’t know if she was his fiancee? No, it would have been his wife at that point. I called Mary and asked her to go out there because she was close by. I said, Okay, so I call her I said, Mary, let me speak to Larry. And so she hesitates. And I said, You alright. And she goes, yeah. Now you gotta remember. She’s like, 22. And she’s having to process that she already knows it’s not good. And I am on the other end, saying, Let me speak to him. And what is she going to tell me? Right? She doesn’t even know never dealt with anything like this before. Her husband’s I mean, father is dead. And she’s having to wonder what she’s going to tell me. She was very close to him. He loved her. And so now she’s having to look at that. Watch all that go down. So she says, I can’t and I said, why not? And she goes, Well, because they’re the ambulance is with him. And I said, well ask the ambulance if I can talk to him. Again, I think your brain just goes off area where you’re like, not engaged in what’s going on. And I hear her say, can he? Can she speak to him? Now? He’s on a respirator at this point. I don’t know this. But he’s, I later learned that and they’re like, No, we’re trying to, and then I didn’t hear anything. And so she goes, Well, they’re trying to stabilize him. Okay, that’s when it kicks in. For me. I said state my voice raises stabilize, what do you mean stabilize? Tell them to define stabilized right now? And so that poor child as for state, what do you mean by stable? Now she’s watching them work on this man. You know, they’re that she loves dearly, and he loved her. And so she’s trying poor thing that I wonder if I’ve ever apologized to that baby, or haven’t done that to her in that moment. And she says, Well, they’re trying to stabilize him because they’re trying to make his heartbeat or something like that. Okay, that’s when I totally lose it in a sense, and I’m like, What hospital are they going to? And she’s like, well, we’re right on the line between Chesapeake Virginia Beach. So they’re arguing about what hospitals are taking us if you tell them to take him to Princess Ann and I will see you there now. And she goes, Okay, I will. And so I had started, I’m calling people. Look, you have got to pray. Larry has been in a car. I still think it’s a car accident. I don’t know that he’s had a heart attack. So I’m trying to process all that I get to the long story short, I guess I’ve gone on long enough is that I get to the hospital. They pull us my sons and I pull us into a room. I’m waiting for them to come tell me I can see him. My heart is still hanging on to that.

in walks this white coat, little petite doctor, and I’m like, she does not have it in her to tell me what I do not want to hear. But sure enough, she opens her mouth and outcomes. We’ve done everything we can. There’s nothing left. Well, I start arguing with her. You could still be in there trying to do something. Have you tried everything? How do you know you’ve tried everything? So I’m like poor woman. I’m bullying her? Because I will not take her answer. For the final answer. I got one son who’s collapsed. I got one son who’s beside me with his arm around me and I’m still arguing with this woman. So long story short, I did not get to see him like I thought I would or at least when I did see him. It was in the hospital. And it was on a steel gurney. But it was not the way I had hoped to see him.

Amy Watson  44:45  
Yeah, I want to let that breathe for a second because

it’s the third or fourth time I’ve heard it. And

I just I’m so so sorry.

And I would be

Sorry, to anybody that that experiences that.

But uh, particularly today on this interview, it makes my heart sad because it’s sad. But you just got done talking to our listeners about how

God has been your father and, and he really is the reason why you raised your kids like you did and all the things.

But now

here’s, here’s this reality that you’re living in. And I can’t help but wonder, did you ever feel abandoned by God?

And let me let me let me let me expand on that a little bit more. Because this is the desire of your heart, Sherrie for this podcast.

Because you said to me, I wonder if the way I responded to Larry’s passing, I responded as though he abandoned me, I was mad at him that he abandoned me. And I’m here to tell you with my not so psychology degree, but Google went a little bit of a brain, that that’s absolutely your childhood trauma, that abandonment, now your husband leaves you.

Crissy Loughridge  46:11  
And not, not of his free will, he leaves you. But that logic leaves in those moments. And I can only imagine your childhood came home to roost. 

Sherrie Pilkington  46:23  
Satan attaches himself to our traumas. And he uses every opportunity that he can to bring them back up to us. But the beauty of a relationship, a personal, intimate relationship with Christ is that when Satan brings those things up to us, like he did with abandonment, we have God who wants to heal them. I believe that when we’re under pressure, when we’re under that fire, and those things in us come up, then that’s God wanting to say, give me that child, give me that daughter, I want to work that out for you. I want to heal that place for you. I want to bring in my peace, my healing, and my save for that pain that this world has put on you, I have something different for you. I have a different value system for you. And that’s really what happened to me here. My husband would have picked divorce

to abandon me versus checking out at 52 years old because he was very much a family man. He loved his boys. The grandbabies were starting to come. He was the youngest of eight babies. He loved babies. So I know in when you put it look at it in a realistic way, then, yeah, he did not abandon me that is not the truth. Right. But did it come up in my spirit and my soul? Yes, it did. And then

pardon me, I even told the Lord, I don’t. I’m a little exhausted with this whole abandonment thing. I don’t really want to go back and process this again. But God heals in layers. And so he said to me, Sherrie, I don’t take you back to hurt you. I take you back to heal you. And so when he said that, to me, I was like, Alright, let’s go. What have you got? What? How do you want to rewrite this lie that I have embraced in my life to the point that it would come up under this in this way that it is not the truth, but yet I? It seems to be the truth. Yeah. And so God brings those things up, or at least he’s right there when they do come up. 

Amy Watson  48:20  
Right. Right. And I think that it because what one of my next question says and you just really answered it eloquently, is what would you say to people who are 18,28, 38,48, 58, who have childhood traumas, and then experience trauma later in life. And those are the they’re the same, right? But they’re different. I have a huge fear of abandonment. This one right here. And I told you this story on Voxer. But for listeners, Crissy and I were running errands one day, and she needed gas, and I needed something from the bank. And I needed to go into the lockbox make very long story short, I came out with the bank, she wasn’t there. And I was convinced that she had left me and was never coming back to get me. And I was 36 or 37 years old. So listeners I’m honing in on that because

that I want you to understand that if you’ve experienced childhood trauma, you’ve got real issues, physical issues with your brain. And so when you’ve it’s so important for parents, teachers, youth pastors, all anyone who has agency over a child to understand how important the developing brain as and how they will experience trauma later. I am so grateful that you just spoke life into people by just saying you know what, God heals our pain and layers that even took my breath away a little bit and it’s helping me understand why my pain has been healed and layers. So yeah, thank you for that so much. 

Crissy Loughridge  49:58  
Yeah, what really

came to mind for me is what Satan meant for evil God meant for good. And so that bringing up the abandonment, again is satan’s way of going haha. And God was like, oh, bring it. I got more healing to do. Yeah, go go for it. Yeah. And and so it’s it’s always encouraging to me when God turns the tables on Satan in his tricks.. And so 

Amy Watson  50:23  
God turns the table one Satan has tricks that’s a Louridgeism y’all that is fantastic. 

Sherrie Pilkington  50:31  
That’s not to say that’s a table to flip right, that is a table to flip?

Crissy Loughridge  50:36  
Well, um, as we close out the podcast, what shouldn’t we do when we are doing live closely with someone who has experienced what you have? What what has not been helpful?

Sherrie Pilkington  50:49  
You know,

 my first initial response to that is that I don’t

I don’t know that I would put that on someone else. And what I mean by that is,

when I’m triggered when I go through things that pertain to my childhood experiences.

Would it be helpful if someone understood that, but how can they if they haven’t been through it? Or if they’re not even relating to the fact that this is it because a lot of times, that was my situation, I didn’t put the pieces together. When I think about this child that I’ve made reference to I think about the journey that this child is on, and the heartache and the possible identity issues as this child grows older, but what if this, this child knew what if this child knew what had happened and then could get help immediately. So my point is, I think the burden of responsibility falls on me

in order to get the help I need when I’m triggered, can kind hearted people make a difference? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Can patient people make a difference? Oh, yeah.

Amy Watson  52:09  
But what about what do you say to the name it claim it you got a problem? I got a Bible verse. So you’re walking along life with people with trauma?

How do you experience the the name it claim it? misused even dare I say weaponizing the gospel had? That’s, that’s what I that’s how I would have answered that question is,

we can’t throw words that people may not even believe at them, and expect them to do something like overnight unless God tells that story.

Sherrie Pilkington  52:48  
I agree.

I can say Scripture all day long. And I do believe that the word will is powerful, and it will transform anything and everything. It also transcends this life into the next life. So I’m not trying to take anything away from the word. But if there is no intimate and personal relationship with the word and the word being Christ, then there is no change, unless you engage God over that word. And that’s going to be a process. And it makes me think about, there is a process to this. I would tell anyone, to not rush, the process of having this hard conversation with God and asking these tough questions like Where were you? Did you even care? Or whatever is a tough question for that individual person. So I would say get in there and get real with God, you ain’t fooling him about anything anyway. So just lay it on the lay all your cards on the table, because change starts. I don’t know if you remember when God asked Jacob, what’s your name? It’s not like he didn’t know Jacob’s name. He’s like, you want to be honest with me? Now, if you can be honest with me that we got somewhere to go? Avoiding? 

Amy Watson  53:51  
That is a fantastic take on that scripture. 

Sherrie Pilkington  53:54  
Yeah, you want to keep avoiding me and keep acting like we’re not gonna talk about the real thing, then I got nothing for you. I can’t work with you. So I think that’s what happens for us, we get real with the Lord. And I don’t care how painful it is meaning a lot of my grief came out as anger. But the Lord never shamed me for that he never turned me away. It was almost as if he absorbed all of my pain because he knew where it was coming from. And it wasn’t just the death of my husband, it was the death of childhood, it was the death of things that I had to

go through and process. So he understood I felt like he understood it.

And so what once I got to the point where this processing became obvious to me that I could not lift my hand there was nothing I could do or a resource I could have. That would change my situation, because the one who could have stopped my husband’s death did not. And so I had to face the fact that the Good God, I confess did not intervene and my husband’s death. And so what do you say to God what the good god profess? What do you say to him at that point? And so when that became a real

It, it collided with God’s sovereignty. And at that point I submitted to God’s sovereignty, I chose to just lay it down. But when I did, submission with God is got to be one of the most powerful things there is because that’s when healing begin to happen for me, is when I laid down the argument because I had rights. Right? I mean, I wasn’t making up my situation. I had rights. 

Amy Watson  55:23  
And where was he? That’s a great question. Right? He was right. There wasn’t? 

Sherrie Pilkington  55:26  
Yeah, yeah. Right. They’re engaged. I think that’s another thing too, that people miss that even when we do not use our Gift of Choice in the way that we that God intended for us to do it. God’s still in there, he would never, ever let you endure those things by yourself. Yes, people are making the wrong choice. Yes, he is heartbroken over what they’re doing. But he ain’t gonna let you be there by him by yourself and go through it alone. And I think people miss that. Because it’s such a beautiful thing to know that we’re never alone. Because if I, if I could strip humanity down to one thing, you like, take all the little ways that we protect ourselves. And the way we make things, look in our our vices and whatnot, and we strip it down is the fear of being alone. Being left alone abandoned. I think that’s where, because we were created for a relationship, right. And so that’s why Satan takes that is such a powerful weapon. But God comes along and rewrites it, saying, I was right there. There was an incident I shared with you. And if I’m talking too much, just let me know. But there was an incident that I shared with you about that the reason I had abandoned issues with my mother, she would always threaten to leave you, she would always threaten that you do that I’m gonna leave you right here. Well, she did one day, she left me there for a couple hours with my brother. And so we’re walking along the side of the road trying to think I mean, I was trusting my brother, He’s a year older. So I’m thinking he knows where he’s going. I think he said him, when all of a sudden she pulls up, and we get in the car. So her threats became very real to me. And so I began to have a reoccurring dream of her leaving the various places. And that was just a fear of mine that I had for many years. And I asked the Lord through some Theophostic prayer counseling, and I said, Where were you? Like, where were you in that moment that the change my life, and he gave me a vision, I’m getting a little softer here. But he gave me a vision, and that he was walking beside me. And he had his hand on my back in the middle of my back. And he’s looking down to me, like he’s either talking to me or caring for me in some way. And that healed my abandonment issues. And I’m not saying I feel like it’s the last piece of abandonment. But if I get triggered again, then that just means I have some more healing to bring to him to talk to him about it. But that one, vision, healed years of abandonment issues.

Amy Watson  57:34  
That’s so precious.

It was it really was so precious. And it’s just the faithfulness of our God who we don’t understand. I say so many times, probably one of the most

recited verses on my podcast, is Hebrews 4:15. Or the Bible says we do not serve a high priests who is unfamiliar with our sufferings. And so for me, when I got into the Where were you, you could have an even Sherrie thinking, you were there you watched, and the vision that the Lord gave me, and this has been many years ago is Jesus hanging on the cross and his father having to turn his back on him. And then then just that understanding of Hebrews 4:15, that we do not serve a high priest who doesn’t get to be an abandoned, you know what I’m saying? Jesus, as far as we know, had a decent childhood, so no childhood trauma going on there. But he absolutely understands our suffering. Well,

I feel like I’ve been to church today. It’s not very often on my own podcast that I walk away with my cup filled, but you are the host of a podcast called Finding God in our pain. And I think that you have absolutely found God in your pain. I had the great honor of being on your podcast. And we will put how to how to contact Sherrie into the show notes. And so as we close here, Sherrie, you will hear this when the podcast drops, but there is a song by Phil Baker called marked by you that he has allowed me to use and your life is marked by him. And so before I finish up here, Crissy, do you have any final parting words for for our guests here, Sherry and for my buddy, 

Sherrie Pilkington  59:11  
what an amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

Amy Watson  59:16  
 Do you feel because Chrissy and I are kind of going through some stuff. Do you feel like God just Yeah, I’d love you through Sherrie Pilkington today. I really do. I really do. Thank you, ladies for allowing me to be part of my redemption story because I believe that being able to turn around and extend your hand out to someone else or give somebody a heart hug along the way after sharing what you’ve learned.

I believe that’s us taking part in our redemption story. Thank you and it is Joel 2:25 and other verse so often recited that the Lord will restore the years that the locusts have stolen and I’m just so grateful that you refuse to continue to not believe the lie. And so thank you so much for being here today. You are an incredible

An incredible steward of your pain. I want to thank you for your vulnerability here today. It really is my hope that listeners out there, no matter where you are in the world will find hope. Because there is hope. And Sherrie’s story, even though there’s plenty of pain, because she found God and her pain and found him to not to be the only analgesic that sticks for her pain. That doesn’t mean that life is easy. But in the body of pain of real life, she is proving the truth of Philippians one six where God promise, Paul writes, that he will finish that which he started in our life. Sherrie’s life also embodies one of my favorite verses that just mentioned it Joel 225, where we see God redeeming all of the years that the locusts have stolen, we’re behind microphones both of us all the time redeeming the years that the locusts is stolen. Finally, it is my hope that in this episode is highlighted the importance of community, paying attention to Sherrie, the Sherrie’s of the world, the Amy’s of the world, and the Susie’s of the world and the Johnny’s of the world, those experiencing trauma or adverse childhood experience and need your help. Guys, early intervention is so important in healing the negative effects of trauma on the developing brain, who knows how much less traumatic this this loss and Sherrie’s life would have been had she not had to work through a process with God on being abandoned. So as you had so so as we head out of here, we’ll be back in two weeks. It is my prayer, that if your story is like Sherrie’s, and you have not gotten help, that you would seek that help today, either through our efforts here to provide pro bono counseling, you can contact me with that contact me link, or through your own efforts. You don’t have to live in misery, and activated all the time. While childhood trauma can and often does leave lifetime effects, it is never too late to get better. Finally, it is my prayer that Sherrie’s story will help you pay attention

to children in your life. Step in as a community when you feel that you can help on talk on youth pastors, parents, teachers, friends, children are the most precious humans, they aren’t little adults, they need us protecting them. Can you imagine a Sherrie or an Amy with somebody that would come up and protect us? Can you imagine what we would have not had to walk through? When we do this, we equip it. Finally, for you parents out there, you’ve not screwed up your children, I promise. This is for those 10 adverse childhood experiences, not you just yelling at them because they throwing stuff at each other.

We want healthy people walking around. We know that the star of the story who is Jesus the only one to accomplish that for us. If you don’t know the star of story, I would love to share him with you. And I know Sherrie will want to both of our contact information is in the show notes. We are honored I am honored and having a voice to tell people about the God who heals you the God who sees the God who provides and Sherrie to speak over to you when I speak over everybody. When I speak over to Chris he would speak over to myself and when I speak to my listeners all around the world, seven continents. Guys, you are seen

you’re known. You are heard your loved and your valued. See we’ll see you back here, two weeks in the healing zone.

Sherrie Pilkington  1:03:20  
Thank you.

Crissy Loughridge  1:03:21  
Thank you

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Tags: #PTSD. #Anxiety #Depression #Jesus #Hope #Faith #Healing #trauma #noexcuseforabuse #nomore #mentalhealthmatters #ptsdwarrior #death #spouse #heart #attack

Lost Childhood Challenge, 2022

NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE

Last year, I did an interview with a young lady who had experienced quite a bit of child abuse. Her story is an important one because as she pointed out child abuse doesn’t always look like the Amy Watson story. Sometimes child abuse can occur in a two parent “intact families”. In some ways, that kind of child abuse is the worst kind, because the child isn’t getting any attention from people like teachers, pastors, youth pastors or any adult because we’ve gotten in our heads that child abuse does not occur in two parent intact homes. This interview with this young lady who tried to take her life as an adult as a result of her experience with child abuse is paradigm shattering and gave me an idea last year.

I called at the lost childhood challenge and for the most part I dreaded it every day because it was just something else that I had to do, something that I had to put on film, meaning that I would tear it apart and be hyper critical of everything that I posted. I have determined that I wouldn’t do it again this year, but so many people responded to it and indicated to me that it made their heart happy to watch an adult who had their childhood stolen from them seeking child like activities. So, here we are April 2022 and the loss childhood challenge of 2022 is on in full force. Those videos are over on my Instagram page and I would love for you to join us, and perhaps seek your own childlike activity and tag me in it and join the fun!

As I was filming one of the videos for this year, it occurred to me that maybe I should try to enjoy it. I did enjoy it and I hope you do too! Since I know not everyone has Instagram, I will also post on Facebook on the podcast page.

Along the way this week, I will post short blogs on child abuse, and I hope you enjoy me acting crazy, keeping it mostly on the ground because gravity is not my friend, and keep it tuned here and the podcast let’s get after this together, because it is never too late to heal!!!

Surviving Breast Cancer, special guest Tammy Williamson (audio & transcript)

Or listen here

READERS: This is a transcript of a podcast and is not meant to present as a completed, grammatically correct piece of written work. We provide these transcripts for our hard of hearing community and for those of you who prefer to listen through the blog. We would love to have you as part of the Wednesdays With Watson family, you can do that by clicking here.

Amy Watson 0:00
She told me that she thought the machine was broken. Or perhaps the technician was brand new, and just kind of learned in her way. It was just after her 40th birthday. And the mom of six probably found the day spent at the doctor as a huge inconvenience annoyance. Her children ranging from ages 10 to 17, or no doubt at home, wonder where Mama was, and what was for dinner. She described the ultrasound and how she laid on the hard table and a probable cold room. She talked about when the technician took a multiplicity of pictures, and then left the room, returning only to capture additional images. When the phone call came a few days later, the voice on the other end, described her diagnosis as invasive, aggressive, unusual. She described the gut punch, because she heard that news as a mom of six, and the word stroke, fear and all of her because the doctor said you have cancer. She thought of their six children who were dependent on her who had raised them, who would teach them the ways of the world who would keep them safe, who would be there for all of the hallmarks, the graduations, the weddings, who would teach them all of the things that was her responsibility? Aggressive, invasive, unusual. She told me that that’s a good description for maybe some character traits or something else but not a diagnosis. She told me how it felt to lose her hair, and how that made her feel like she was losing her identity. She told me how she had her husband shave her head. She told me how they both sobbed. She told me about her throat closing up as she had an allergic reaction. After her second chemo treatment, she described the fight that often ensued because she had several fainting spells. Sometimes in front of her children. She told me of the radiation. She told me of how she just continued to wonder who would be there for her kids who take care of them. She told me she wasn’t afraid of dying. She told me she wasn’t afraid of meeting Jesus. She just wanted to be a mama to their six kids. But then she told me what Jesus did in the form of his people. She told me about the piece that only comes from him. She told me her story, and she’s here to share it with you today. Today, Tammy Williamson is here to give us the hope of her story as she finishes the rest of the story. The rescue story. This is the Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts. And we are in October of 2021. Let’s drop into this episode with Tammy Williams and as we observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but more importantly, the hope that comes Starr.

Hey guys, and welcome to our bonus episode, Wednesdays with Watson. This is October of 2021. And this is the month that we highlight breast cancer awareness. And so today’s episode is a interview with a breast cancer survivor. It is a bonus drop. I hope that you enjoy this conversation was dropped to that right now. Okay, so today I have here with me, the young lady that is going to represent for us this year and the year 2021 As we highlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Tammy Williamson. Hey, Tammy, welcome to the podcast. Hey, thanks. It’s so funny because you and I have some connections that are interesting. Your mom and dad worked at the children’s home that I was in. They were not my house parents because by then I had left I was working there actually but so you come from a family of people who love kids you yourself work in and maybe we’ll have some time to talk about what you do you also work with children and at risk youth it seems to me and then we also went to the best College in the world hashtag we are Clearwater, Clearwater, Christian College Alumni right here. And perhaps the moderators of the Facebook page, the CCC memories will allow us to post this episode because we are Clearwater Christian College alumni. And so well, let’s just jump right into it. And so I have one question for you. Because this is, this is just something that everybody’s gonna want to know. And I especially want to know, you are a mom to six kids. And okay, and they range from right now what ages do they range from?

Tammy Williamson 5:32
The youngest one is 18, and the oldest one just turned 26.

Amy Watson 5:36
Okay, so six kids. So did you always want a big family?

Tammy Williamson 5:41
No, well, no, we were gonna have three.

Amy Watson 5:44
Yeah, and then, and then not. I wanted one more. And then Surprise, surprise. Gotcha, gotcha. And how do they break up between boys, boys and girls?

Tammy Williamson 5:54
boy, girl, boy, boy, girl, boy. So we have four boys, two girls.

Amy Watson 5:58
Wow. Very, very cool. And so I bet that makes life interesting. Although you’re kind of on the back nine of it now with your 18 year old is that is your 18 year old in college or a senior in high school.

Tammy Williamson 6:09
He is leaving maximum for the Air Force.

Amy Watson 6:12
Oh, my gosh, thank you and him for that!

Tammy Williamson 6:15
he will be our fourth military child.

Amy Watson 6:18
Wow. Do you guys come from a military family?

Tammy Williamson 6:22
My dad was Air Force. But that’s all

Amy Watson 6:25
Wow. Well, thank you on behalf of a grateful nation, but especially me, because that is a heat. We know that the families also, you know, pay the price, you know, and it’s so interesting. As a segue, this is a podcast about post traumatic stress disorder. And one of the reasons why I started is because people just thought, hey, you know, PTSD is just a military thing. And we have spent I think, by the time your episode drops, it’ll be 44 or 45. episodes, telling people that PTSD is not just something in the military, and full disclosure, you have not been diagnosed with PTSD. But we are going to discuss today your breast cancer journey and how how you can help those people who are on the other side who have earbuds in right now who are listening to your story. And so let’s just jump right into this. So our listeners heard your story. At the beginning of the podcast, of particular potency to me, when you were telling me the story was that day when you and I got chills, even speaking to you right now, the day, when you were laying on what was probably a hard table in a cold room, getting an ultrasound, you’re going to be able to tell that story better than I can walk us through that day. So obviously, you had found something that the doctor said, we need to take care of this, you ended up in a room with an ultrasound tech. Tell me that story.

Tammy Williamson 7:55
So the doctor had said he was he was going to send me for some more testing because I had found this lump and I was already at the doctor’s office. And he said it would probably just be a mammogram, no big deal. And then if they need to, though, they might do an ultrasound, just wait and see. So I got there and they did the mammogram and the one side, she did like three images. And she was done. And she did right side where my cancer later they found it almost seemed like she didn’t know what she was doing. Because she kept redoing some of the tests and then having me move just a little more and doing it again. she’d leave the room, she came back, she left and it just didn’t feel right. But she wouldn’t say a word about it. And then after a few minutes, the next time she came back, she goes, You know what, Here, put this on, and she gave me like a little robot, she goes, we’re just gonna go down the hall. Like, I don’t think the machine’s broken. Here I am with my sarcasm like that I break it. Like what happened, you know, she still doesn’t give me any indication. And we go to another room and, and they do an ultrasound on it doesn’t tell me anything else just, oh, we’re just gonna do a quick ultrasound to double check things. And then she sent me home. And I had to wait for the doctor, like, you know, they’re not super fast to call you, like a week or so. And they scheduled an appointment, how many come in? And so not only did they call and say, Hey, we need you to come in, but they wouldn’t tell me anything.

Amy Watson 9:23
Wow. So when you because a lot of people are going to be listening to this because we’re going to promote it everywhere, you know, in 50% of this country. And there are men, by the way who get breast cancer, you know, are women and so there are going to be people listening. And we both went to Clearwater Christian College. So it stands to reason that we’re both Christians. And so I know that you believe in the star of the story that we talked about on this podcast, but can you can you invite us into your headspace for a minute, especially when she was walking out and walking in walking out walking in? I mean, were you just kind of like your typical Enneagram seven which we’ll get to In a minute, and this is no big deal, just something’s going on, or did you go to a dark place in your head? At that moment?

Tammy Williamson 10:08
You know, I started out with what is she doing? She does not know what she’s doing. Yeah, maybe she’s new and then I kind of and and before I even got there, I was like, it’s probably something stupid like an ingrown hair or a bot fly or something really ridiculous. Like I was just picturing just weird. And but then the more she came in and out, and she showed no expression, the more I was like, this is like a sucker punch to the gut like this is this is not right, whatever it is, I could tell. I had never had a mammogram before, but I knew that what was going on wasn’t normal.

Amy Watson 10:47
Yeah, cuz you were barely 40. It either just turned 40. Or what was turning,

Tammy Williamson 10:52
I found the lump the day before my 40th birthday. Wow.

Amy Watson 10:55
And so then the doctor when they finally did give you the diagnosis they gave, they use words like aggressive, invasive, unusual. Invite me into your head now.

Tammy Williamson 11:10
I believe I actually said to him, something to the effect of well, in fact, that might be a good thing as as a character trait or a way to describe somebody that is not one I hear what I want to hear about a diagnosis. anything positive, you can say about this. And if he he had no humor, and he just just kept saying all his other big words. And he’s like, Well, this is not normal. people your age don’t get this. This isn’t it? He didn’t. He didn’t make it sound like I was on my deathbed. But he also wasn’t encouraging at all. It was very surreal.

Amy Watson 11:51
Were you scared?

Tammy Williamson 11:53
It oddly enough, I wasn’t scared. For me. I wasn’t scared about dying. I wasn’t scared about meeting Jesus, I was scared. Just a minute, I don’t I don’t like emotions. And I was scared that my kids were gonna have to grow up without a mom.

Amy Watson 12:18
Yeah. And I want to let that breathe for a minute. Because I think that that is going to resonate so heavily with our listeners, is that you are afraid that your kids are going to have to grow up without a mom. And so as we were going back and forth on preparing for this episode, we talked about this. And I gotta be honest with you, Tammy, one of the things that I did not see coming when I developed the Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts. And this keeps happening is that my guest began to enter into even more healing as they tell their story. And it’s just the power of story. And particularly if you’re a Christian, the power of story to impact somebody else. And so, so I dive down a little bit. And this is the second time I’ve heard tears from you. And I cried when I first heard it, because we process this over, over Voxer. So I pushed a little bit, tell the listeners this story about your daughter. And the question that she asked her dad, and then I want to lead into something else from there.

Tammy Williamson 13:27
So we raised our children in a Christian home, and they were all in Christian School to different schools at the time because of their age ranges. But she was at a Christian High School 15. And she was at the same school where her father taught. And one day right after a couple of days after the diagnosis, it might have been like after their chapel or something. She she went and found her father in the hallway. And she was emotionally a train wreck. And she just buried her head in his chest. And she said, Why did God give my mother cancer?

Amy Watson 14:07
Another thing that I want to let breathe because from from the mouth of babes, right? And so this was in 2000. And it was 13. Right? And so then, so as you and I were processing through this, you sent that same daughter a text message because I said, I asked you I said what did Jeff say back to her? And you said about oh, no, let me ask her. So I want to read. So when you reached out to her and said, What did your dad say to you? When you asked that question, this was her text exchange with you. And I’m going to read the text message with your permission to do that that she sent to you. He said something along the lines of I don’t know why. Sometimes God puts us in hard situations in our life to grow us into teach us and ultimately to draw us closer to him. I don’t know why He chose to give us his heart situation and the form of mom’s cancer. But we need to trust that he has a bigger plan than we can see. And that was a good answer, because he just said, I don’t know why God decided. And I think that was, that’s the best thing a parent can say. So then after that, you thanked her. And then after that, this is what she said. She said, I was 15. And so this is for those of you out there, maybe with a mom who has cancer, she said I was 15. So if I were to give another 15 year old advice, if they were in the same situation, is that I wish that someone would have told me that it wasn’t about me, I wasn’t the one sick, I wasn’t the one in pain, I should have thought of what I could have been doing for you. And for the family. Too many people kept checking on me to see how I was handling it, which made me think that the situation was about me having a sick mom, I wish someone would have showed me how I could have been more of a help to you or the family, I was so consumed with the fear that I might lose my mom, and what that might look like for my future, instead of what my mom was actually going through. The best advice I have for a child going through what we went through, is that it’s important to be persistent. And to remember, the person is sick is probably more scared than you are. And so that is her message to children out there who have moms with breast cancer or really any terminal disease. And then you sent me another message from your son, who also is given advice, I would say, and he quotes life is unknown and painful. But we have right now at least spend as much time with people or the person that you love as you can while you can. Because we never know what tomorrow may hold. Anything can happen at any time, no need to worry about what may happen when things are uncertain. He goes Idk. And for those of you don’t know what that means, I don’t know. That’s tough. And so I’m really grateful that your kids was able to give us messages. And that was just two of your six that gave messages to children out there whose moms are have breast cancer or really any other terminal disease. I do want to ask you, though, on that first text that your daughter sent you. Was that surprising to you? Like she thought it was about her? How did that hit your mom’s heart this many years later?

Tammy Williamson 17:45
It wasn’t surprising, because she she was a little more standoffish and she was like I was always checking. Are you okay? How’s everybody doing? You know? And I guess I didn’t know that she felt like that. But I don’t think I was super surprised. Her sisters reply. I was a little more surprised.

Amy Watson 18:05
Do you have that right there? Can you read that to us?

Tammy Williamson 18:08
I do. Now her sister was only 11. Kira, she says I felt scared, mostly just scared of the unknown. I think I was 11. At the time, I wasn’t sad. I didn’t cry. Because I just didn’t know what was going to happen. I was scared of not having a mother kept picturing this sad image of dad holding our hands and crying and telling us you’re gone. That would instantly put me into a very dark mood. Didn’t feel like talking to anyone really, because what was there to say? We didn’t know anything about how bad it was in the beginning. As time went on, and we learned it wasn’t too severe and wasn’t necessarily life threatening. I felt a bit more peace, that seeing you become disabled and sick was hard. The Times you passed out or especially terrifying. But how do you as a child, protect the person that’s meant to keep you safe? It was a strange thing. I’ve never really had to sit and think about it. And you feel very helpless. Like you’re just a bystander watching the invincible force in your life fate. And watching you cry over your hair and your body was upsetting. I can’t put my finger on what but it made me cry. I wanted to shave my head for some reason, because to me hair wasn’t a big deal. And I didn’t understand. But you are a grown woman in your eras important part of beauty to you. If I were to give advice to a kid to go through this, I’d say protect them from the harsher parts. Give them the reassurance of your love for them. Keep them by your side during the times that you’re home healing and give them as many hugs as you can. I still treasure the memories of me and mom just hanging out into her room watching old movies and laughing and making snacks or going to the grocery store together and she let me help get the stuff off the shelf. That made me feel less helpless. I didn’t get that one on one time with her a lot I think gave me a lot of comfort in the moment. But she did, I think I sent you a little picture of her in the grocery cart pushing me at the grocery card, and

Amy Watson 20:09
I’m not crying, you’re not crying listeners, you’re crying. Wow, so powerful. And so while you’ve never been diagnosed with PTSD, and I’m not saying that your children would have either this is just me being a friend to you, it is likely that as you’re seeing that there is some residual effects to them. Because PTSD, by definition, is when your safety is compromised. And while my mom was an a great mom, and I didn’t live with her my whole life, I was 10 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. And I remember how I like I couldn’t have articulated it better than your daughter just did. And so for those listeners out there who have kids, Tammy is clearly on the other side of this and you and you heard that in the cold opening. That’s the spoiler alert is that she is a survivor of breast cancer. But you can see just he can hear in her voice, and I’m watching the tears and I’ve had tears and we’ve all had tears over this, but no breast cancer survivors out there. If you have children to watch for these things, we talk about counseling all the time on this podcast, this is probably a good time to get your children in counseling if you’re a parent, and particularly if you’re a mom with a terminal illness. There’s another story I want you to tell and then I promise I’m done making you stop crying is and your daughter they’re referred to shaving her head. I sobbed. When you told me this story, I want you to tell listeners.

Tammy Williamson 21:42
Ah, so the doctor told me that yes, I would probably lose my hair. But it would probably take maybe six weeks till it started fall out. I had really long hair. I’ve always had long hair. It’s very thick. People usually comment on it when I go places. So when he told me it would probably fall out, I cut it really short, like, almost to my shoulders because I didn’t want clumps and clumps of long hair falling out. I thought that would be easier to deal with. And I was horrified. Even with it short, I didn’t like it. So I was I knew once it came out it was I was I was gonna be very unhappy. But I thought I still had time. Two weeks, maybe it started coming out by the handfuls like, there was no way to hide it. There was nothing I rushed to the store the wig store and looked at all these wigs. I didn’t know what I was doing. I did a lot of them didn’t fit well, because small My head’s kind of small to have like little things where you can tighten them. And then while I was there, cracking my jokes as usual. I I thought you know what, I never dye my hair, I’m gonna do something different. So I did, I got a blonde wig. And I went, Oh, we’ve won like platinum, blonde. And short it was it was cute. And I went home and after the kids went to bed that night, I had my husband shaved my head, and I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much about myself that I can remember. Um, we both cried. We both sobbed. And then I think I cried myself to sleep that night. Because I felt like I was losing my identity.

Amy Watson 23:31
Yeah, that will resonate with other people out there who, who you know what I’m saying? Cuz it wasn’t really about the hair. I think it was kind of about this emotional release. Which kind of leads me into this next question. We do not have you. I wish I could do a whole series on the Enneagram and trauma but you’re not part of that series. But I do want to address it because you said something a couple times. Now. You say you’ve taken the test and it typed you as a type seven, which I call the good time Charlie’s, which my memories of you is just that right Enneagram type seven because we want it we’re trying to help people know that if you’re aware of how you how God made you, then you could also be aware of how to process loss and trauma. So as an Enneagram seven sevens do not like to be trapped in emotional pain and they will do anything they can do to not be trapped in emotional pain. I have a friend and as a matter of fact the person that that will be our Enneagram seven in that series would travel the world and you know, some people abuse substances, food, all the things you clearly use that unbelievable sense of humor and sarcasm, didn’t you? Oh yes all the time. I everything everywhere I go everything I do. Yes. Yeah, it’s so so any gram sevens out there hear me you know when I say that? She used sarcasm and humor and all the things and Tammy is doing okay. You know, I’m looking You never hear on Zoom. And she doesn’t appear to have have been incredibly traumatized by this. But there have been tears because as you revisit this time in your life, it is kind of like that poem footprints in the sand, when at the very end when there’s only one set of footprints, and and Jesus says it was Ben that I carried you. And I don’t know about you to me, but I look back at my own breast cancer journey and my own life and my own all of that. And I think, how in the world did I get through that, and I get those words in my head from that poem, it was then that I carried you. And so for those of you out there listening, I think that it’s just by the pure grace of God, that when we’re going through something as intense as this, that we don’t feel the intensity of it, because we can’t really wrap our heads around it. But don’t be surprised at breast cancer survivors or any survivors of any trauma. Because that’s happened to me when you get on the other side of it sometimes, that is when you fall apart. That is when the emotions happen. And that is when and life wasn’t great for you. And that this is not something we’re going to cover on this podcast, because it’s not our story to tell. But life wasn’t great for you after this, you had a significant loss after this. And so So you’ve had a tough road, but you’ve just remained faithful. One of the things Tammy that this podcast also focuses on is the importance of community. And you gave me a couple of examples. And I just want you to pick one, maybe your favorite of how community showed up for you and your family during this time.

Tammy Williamson 26:31
Absolutely. It. It was amazing the amount of people and it was hard for me to choose just one. But I think the biggie the most shocking, amazing one. Mind you. We had six kids, we did not drive a minivan. I drove a mega van, it was how do you fit eight people. And one morning, well into the chemo and treatments and all of that. The van didn’t start and come to find out I believe we needed a transmission, which we were already strapped for money from bills, cancer bills to six kids in private school to, you know, food. So my children, you know, a Christian school they have, they had prayer time every morning with our class and the youngest one when they were the teacher asked for prayer requests. He raised his hand and he told them to pray about a vehicle wasn’t working. And he didn’t know all about what it was. He just the vehicle wasn’t working. And all the kids in the class already knew his mom had cancer because they’d already been praying for it. And one of the little girls in the class she went home and she told her mom and mom told her ladies prayer group, ladies prayer group prayed about it. One of the ladies and ladies prayer group has a husband who owns a local dealership. She went home and she told her husband about it. And he I don’t know what he did. He ran she had the thing towed to his one of his dealerships because he had multiple ones had it repaired. And when I went to pick it up a week later, they handed me this bill itemized and it was huge. They crossed out the final number. But everything I mean, I didn’t pay a dime, but they gave it back to me crossed out with with everything on there, what they did change replacing a transmission. In the meantime, the little girl the first little girl, her mother loaned us her father’s car. He’s a surgeon. He rode his bicycle to work every day that week. And I swear it rained every day it was rainy season as a surgeon rode his bicycle to work every day so that we would have a vehicle that can fit the kids and get everybody to school because you can’t put eight people in a Toyota Corolla. And and then while we had his vehicle, one of the guests window down and it didn’t go back up. And we had yet another friend come in, who owned a different dealership and fix that window and didn’t charge us for it. And wow, that day. I mean, it was just amazing.

Amy Watson 29:12
Yeah, and, and we know that we can’t do life. We just can’t do life without community. And you also told me of meals that were brought, and we could go on and on and on. And so survivors are people going through this right now. Do not forget the importance of community. I know that not everybody that listens to this podcast believes in Jesus or the star of the story. And in this case, this is how this has happened. This happened. This came from basically local church wood or a Christian school, that it came from the body of Christ and the way of community. But this question is going to be a little a little raw and a little hard for you to answer but you’re a strong woman. You have six kids Hashtag we are clear water. We’re strong, smart and dependent, well educated people. How was it for you? How did you feel when all these people were pouring into you given that, like I said, at the beginning of the podcast, your parents worked at a children’s home, you now are kind of in a similar vein. And so clearly you’re you have a heart for service. How was that like for you? I really, really want to know.

Tammy Williamson 30:28
It. It was almost awkward, like I had hadn’t been in that position very much. Because usually I was on the giving end of things and making sure everybody else was okay. I’m also a mental health counselor, I’m always making sure everybody else is okay. And most people don’t ask me and if they do, I say something witty, and we move on. So to be on that receiving end, it took a little getting used to the kids loved all the food, they were like, Wow, mom, this is better than i Whoa, let’s not go there. So, it but it was, I believe it’s harder for their father than it was for me to accept it. But it was just unusual. It was almost like being in an awkward situation where you don’t know what to say. I didn’t know what you know what to say?

Amy Watson 31:19
Yeah. Do you feel like that? And you can decline to answer this question. But was there pride involved? Like, I don’t, I don’t need a hand up or hand down or hand or anything. I don’t need this. I can fight this. We can do this. Was there any of that for you?

Tammy Williamson 31:35
I don’t think so. I just felt like I was so surprised that I don’t know why, because it’s the body of Christ. But I sometimes felt surprised that they would do so much. I mean, people from out of state that I barely knew from former churches were sending things. But I’m on the flip side of that, again, I was a mental health therapist, I work for a mental health facility, not one coworker, or employer sent me a note checked on me, gave me a paid day off, like, I didn’t get paid unless I work, nothing from work. Everything was from the body of Christ, from the Christian schools, to the church to family and friends from out of the area that were also Christians from work.

Amy Watson 32:25
That is so sad to me. And so, you know, again, we go back to church, which is one of the season our podcasts and the importance of church. The other see that I want to ask you about is did you ever, during or after seek counseling to process any of this?

Tammy Williamson 32:47
As a matter of fact, no, I am a mental health counselor and I, I did not. I’m very good at getting other people to tell me about their emotions. But I very good at not talking about mine.

Amy Watson 33:01
Do you? Can you when you look back on it? Do you see how maybe counseling could have been advantageous for not only you but for your children?

Tammy Williamson 33:09
Definitely. Especially for my children. I felt like I I wasn’t as worried for me. I was just wanting to make sure they were okay. And I spent most of my focus on them. So I didn’t have really a lot of time to worry about what was going on with me. I was just like, long as my kids are okay.

Amy Watson 33:27
Yeah, yeah. And so you know, and I don’t think that’s uncommon. I think that when, when you’re faced with a crisis like that counseling is not going to be top of mind. But for those of you out there listening, who are still struggling, or maybe did get PTSD, and we’ve talked many times why some people will actually get a PTSD diagnosis after something like this, and why some people won’t. It’s just the way your were made. It doesn’t have anything to do with how strong your faith is. It doesn’t have anything to do with, you know, how smart you are, how much money you have, some people are just going to be pushed outside of that window of tolerance that we talked about, and some aren’t. But it’s always good to go out and push it out in this particular case, particularly your kids. And I want to close the podcast with this story. Because I think it’s so powerful. You told me a story, because you brought your kids up several times now. And even when we talked about it, and you have six of them, and so they’re a big deal, right? You told me a story that I think that maybe people who are going through breast cancer right now would love this thing that you did as it pertains to your children. And it just speaks to your heart and the heart of mom who who loves Jesus and who clearly knows how to be a parent and that’s foreign to me. I have no context for this. And so when you told me this part, I actually kind of ugly cried because you were so concerned with your kids. What did you do that first Mother’s Day

Tammy Williamson 35:00
So all along the whole time, I was so worried about every event was could be our last because I didn’t know. I mean, I had heard that a lot of people survived it. But I also heard some people don’t. So every event was a, this could be my last. And so Mother’s Day that year, I insisted on taking the kids to lunch, we, we don’t go out much we never did it just, you know, it’s expensive. But I took them. And I, of course, went to a place that kids like, I didn’t pick, you know, my favorite restaurant and pick their favorite restaurant. And we had a fun little lunch and shakes and and then I wrote them on Mother’s Day cards, which most people are like, Why would you do that? Because I wanted to tell them how important they were, how unique they were, how loved they were. And I didn’t want them to have a question. That, yeah, so I wanted to make sure I’m and I actually, somehow along the way, I feel like I managed to steal each one of them back and I put it in their baby book so that one day they they will have that still because who knows where kids put things you know, like, under their dresser in the closet. So I just wanted to make sure she would something happened down the road, they still would have that little bit of an oftentimes I find myself when Mother’s Day come around. I don’t know that I’ve done it every year. But I wasn’t in the me to note something just unique. Just telling them why they’re so important not because of any thing they’ve done no trophy they’ve earned but just how I love them for them.

Amy Watson 36:41
You know, you bring up that that last thing that there’s less words that you just used is happens to be a lyric of one of my favorite songs that’s popular right now, where it says I’ve never been more love than I am right now it doesn’t take a trophy to make you proud. But I’ve never been more loved than I am right now and what you did, Tammy, and again, I have no context for this because I didn’t have a mom that that cared, or that needed to be a mom. But how precious that you did that for them. And that you and that’s what this podcast is about to is that you are known and seen and heard and loved and valued for who you are not because of what you do that because of who you are. Because God decided to wake you up that morning. And so I love that. And I thought that the listeners would love that. And I think it’s just so precious, especially that you kept it. And I just think of I think of a verse When I think of you now this now you have to kind of read the entire chapter of John chapter 11. Because when Jesus says this verse that I’m getting ready to say, he’s talking cryptically a little bit, right. But we can apply it here in some ways where it was when Lazarus was sick. And of course, Jesus didn’t come didn’t come. And he’d said to his disciples, and John 1124, it says, this sickness is not unto death, but unto the glory of My Father who is in heaven. And what I want to say to you, Tammy is that sickness, thank you, Jesus wasn’t unto physical death of Tammy Williamson on this planet. But today, on this day that we’re recording this podcast, and it’ll be out there in podcast land forever. This sickness was unto the glory of our heavenly Father, the star of the story, Jesus, who we highlight on this podcast. And so thank you for being here today. And I just want to I want to give the microphone to you as we close out the podcast or any message you have for anyone out there, who who is either diagnosed and surviving his children. The mic is yours for anything that you would like to say to people who find themselves in the position that you were in. Well, I

Tammy Williamson 38:48
found a lot of people when they go through something they they keep going back to why me why me and one of my biggest thoughts through the whole thing was why not me one an honor that God would choose me to use as an example for my kids as they hadn’t gone through any hard times before. Why not let them go through that in a safety of their home for for the people that I’ve talked to since then, that are going through stuff to help them through and to show him like, you can go through this gracefully however, I mean, probably wasn’t perfect. I probably really messed up a few times, but he got me through it, you know, why not? Me so that that that was kind of the biggie and, you know, spend a lot of time in prayer. Find find an older Christian lady to talk to they have a lot of time on their hands, they love that kind of thing. And then they’ll pray for you like nobody else. Go to a counselor. You need to tell get your close friends a lot of my Clearwater buddies like, we we get together twice a year and through that time, we we got together There are a couple times and it wasn’t just me gone through it, one of the girls daughters was going through cancer. So we I mean, we had that bond where we were there to support each other and pray for each other. And they check in on me all the time.

Amy Watson 40:12
So basically, Tammy is preaching the Wednesday was with Watson podcast message, she’s saying, Go to the star of the story, go to your community, get counseling if you need it. And I love what you just said, Why not me? So often, we will indict God and say, How can a good God give a mom of six cancer? How can that even happen? And if we flip that question of, I’m so honored that he picked me as a steward of this suffering. You know, one of my favorite verses in the Bible often quoted on this podcast is is Romans chapter eight, verse 58, where the Bible says, I want you to know that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. And the translation of that is like what we deal with down here cannot be compared with the beauty that is going to be made in eternity, the weight of glory, some translations say that this suffering cannot be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. And so thank you so much for being here with us today. We are Clearwater hashtag. I’m so grateful for you, I am grateful that you’re in this world. I’m grateful for what you how you show up in this world. And I hope that this experience has been somewhat cathartic for you as it has for me. And both of those things have been really unexpected for me on this podcast. And so I so appreciate what you do. I so appreciate you being here. And this episode will drop on the October the 27th 2021. And attached to that episode will be a little gift from me to you. And so I can’t wait for you to hear that. So thank you so much to me for being here with us today. Thank you guys, I hope that you enjoyed that episode. My friends call me William said, I hope that it brought hope to you. I hope that you gain some knowledge as to how to do life with people with terminal illnesses or illnesses that lives. While you’re at it, make sure while you’re on that podcast app that you if you’re not subscribed that you just open it up, follow or subscribe an apple podcast that’s the top right hand corner and other than that, I encourage you to head over into our patreon account where we have bonus content.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Thursday Tunes, what is in your ear buds?

Happy Thursday! Here is what is in my earbuds today! Music heals, maybe you will find some encouragement today! Comment on the blog any songs I should add to my playlist!

“Sparrows, by Cory Ausbury”

My favorite lyric in this song…”You Take Good Care Of Me” over and over I recite these words, because I believe them. I know that God can operate inside His character even in a world that is not kind. The Bible tells us He cares about the sparrows, how much more does he care about us?

“Believe For It”

CeCe Winans

This song has been in my ear buds for two years, it was a go to track for me during the pandemic. This song is filled with Hope, “we know that Hope is never lost, for there is still an empty grave…”. There is so much power in His name! Do you believe it?

“They say this mountain can’t be moved, they say these chains will never break, but they don’t know You like we do, there is power in Your name. We have heard there is no way through, that the tide will never change, they haven’t seen what You can do, there is power in Your name. Move the immoveable, break the unbreakable, God we believe, God we believe for it. From the impossible, we will see a miracle, God, we believe, we believe for it.”

“The God Who Stays”

Matthew West

This song is like sweet honey to my sometimes bitter-ish spirit. It is hard to trust in a God Who we can not see, but I find Him incredibly trustworthy because..

“You are the God who stays, You are the God Who stays, you are the one who runs in my direction when the whole world walks in my direction when the whole world walks away, you are the God who stands with open arms and you tell me that there is nothing that I have ever done can separate my heart from the God Who stays.”

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”

Natalie Grant and The Belonging Company

This has been a long time favorite of mine, but this version by Natalie Grant took her to her knees as it did me. The things of earth and the things we worry about truly are dim when outshined by Jesus. Will you turn your eyes upon the anchor of our Hope?

“No light in the darkness you see, but just one look at the Savior is life more abundant and free, just look up, help is on the way. Turn, turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, when you turn, turn your eyes upon Him”

Celebrating 50 Years, Amy’s 50th Birthday, 5 people, 1 God. (Audio & Transcript)

Or Listen Here

READERS: This is a transcript of a podcast and is not meant to present as a completed, grammatically correct piece of written work. We provide these transcripts for our hard of hearing community and for those of you who prefer to listen inside the blog. We would love to have you as part of the Wednesdays With Watson family, you can do that by clicking here.

Amy Watson 0:00
Wednesday’s child is full of oil goes the Old English poem. This Wednesday’s child may be full of Whoa. But whoa, must have really resisted the addition of resilience, hope, faith, love, and all of its cousins. Because today, y’all, this Wednesday’s child is 50. Do you hear me 50? Remember, 150 was old. Guess what? Not not so much. Welcome to a very special episode of The Wednesday’s with Watson podcast. It is Wednesday, December 1. This is our 50th episode, randomly scheduled to drop on a Wednesday, that happens to be my 50th birthday. And I happen to have been born on a Wednesday, I don’t believe the Old English poem and a smile on I think about baby Amy, true to form waiting for hump day to make my grand entrance. You’re in for a treat today, as I have asked one person from each decade of my life to share just a few minutes with me. These are people that know it all. They’ve been there through it all at some point in my life, all the trauma, all the pain and still to this day in some form. So walk with me as I navigate PTSD. And all of its friends. Selfishly I wanted this on audio. So this podcast in some ways as a birthday present to myself. Enjoy this episode as I celebrate 50 trips around the brightest star in the universe. May the true star of all 50 be glorified because on this day, more than any other. My simple prayer is this, sir, we would see Jesus. I am honored today to introduce you to some people that God has used, I could have picked so many people that we only have a short time. It is my prayer that you will find hope and healing and what you hear today. One of the things that I am reminded of is the scripture in the Bible. And it’s found in I believe all four gospels, but it’s the parable of the seed, where Jesus is talking about how some seeds some people are used to plant the seed some people are used to maintain the seed, work the field work the harvest, and then somebody gets to reap those seeds. And so today, one person from each decade of my life, the very first person being the person that dropped some of the very first seeds, and we’ll walk through each decade of my life and how all of the seeds are now we’re able to reap the harvest of everything that was invested in me. So I hope you guys enjoy this episode. It is going to be so much fun. And I can’t wait for you to hear from some of my favorite people in the world. And so without further ado, let’s drop into these conversations. Five people five decades, one God. Children are not to be molded but are merely people to be unfolded. Light filter dimly through the spiderwebs and dirt on the prison room windows. I had convinced mama to let me go to church with a nice people from across town. I’d bounce out of bed test the door to ensure that Mama unlocked it. Race to get ready and then shuffle down the stairs to wait for that old yellow school bus. Wreck drove the bus and his wife Sharon attempted to keep a bunch of kids from downtown Jacksonville the ghetto as some would call it, who had been bribed by candy to go to church. She was just trying to keep us in order. Their young daughter sat securely in a car seat next to her dad as he drove. Week after week when the bus pulled back in front of our house. I swallowed hard, stood a little straighter and prepared to go back to the battlefield we called home. Rick and Sharon must have known something because they begin to do something after Sunday morning church that events a day gives me life when I think about it. The Bible says that many are responsible for the harvest as I mentioned some plant some so some reap Rick and Sharon were called to plant and plant they did to represent my first decade. Today. Sharon is here to answer some of my questions, as well as any birthday sentiments that she may have for me. Let’s drop into this conversation with my friend, Sharon Reynolds. Look guys, I hope that you enjoyed that story with Sharon. Sharon is married and has been for a lot of years, I think 41 years. And they were the first people to plant the seed and the Amy Watson story. So it is my pleasure to introduce today to the podcast. Sharon Sharon, thank you so much for coming on to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts. I’ve been so excited about this conversation.

Sharon Reynolds 4:52
You’re welcome. I’m a little nervous, but I’ll make it

Amy Watson 4:55
you’re a little nervous but you’ll make it I told you we get an edit button so no worries. Well this is a celebration of my 50th birthday and I simply would not. I would not be celebrating a half century mark. You know, Sharon when I’m when I made it to 40 I was shocked, I did not have a problem with turning 40 I am struggling a little bit with her new 50 Because I remember 150 Sounded old, but I would not be here today without you and your husband Rick. And even as I pray just a few minutes ago by proxy, little Monique who couldn’t even speak what was the first to coined the term Mamie for me which my own nieces and nephews call me this to this day. And so I’m so grateful just to spend a few minutes with you. And so I’m going to jump right in. I know that I am asking you to reach way back into the annuals of your memory when I asked you to do this. But what is one of your earliest earliest memories of little Amy because you are in the first decade of my life. And so I was 10 years old when I first came to know you and Rick and so talk to us a little bit about your first memories of little Amy. I’ve been interested in these answers so far. I’d be interested in yours.

Sharon Reynolds 6:03
Wow, that was a while back. I think the first memory of you was you were a little of course you were little blond headed girl. So blonde. Your hair was almost white. But you were one of the very few kids that as the church was pulled up, you didn’t wait for us to blow the horn. You were out of the out of that front door. Like you’ve been shot out of a cannon. Some Sundays I was afraid you guys smack into the church bus door before

Amy Watson 6:44
some things never change. Right?

Sharon Reynolds 6:46
Right. And I couldn’t my only thought process on that was either Wow, she really likes coming to church with us. And always tucked this way in the back of my mind was afraid to bring it to the forefront because I wasn’t equipped to deal with it was is there something going on that makes her want to leave? Yeah. And get out of the house. I have sensed through the years honed my body reading abilities, a gift my my grandmother and from God, mostly that I can now tell there’s something wrong if you’re not being truthful, but back then it wasn’t harmed as much. Yeah, I had been. I might have been terrified.

Amy Watson 7:26
Yeah, imagine. Yeah. Imagine you were when you hear what Gail said, and the listeners will hear her after you. Yeah, she was like we knew something was wrong, but didn’t put our finger on it. Yeah, couldn’t put a finger on it. And so

Sharon Reynolds 7:40
because you were such a good actress, it’s such a young age, we didn’t realize you were already used to hiding things.

Amy Watson 7:45
Interesting. Interesting. And yeah, I was so young, only 10 years old. That is really, really interesting. Well, let me ask you this. So it because you really it’s a really beautiful segue into what I wanted to ask you to is what was going through your mind because at some point you tried your you knew something was up you didn’t know what and I know you well enough now to know like, you just kind of put it in the back of your mind and said, well let us do what we can do. And the listeners heard what you and Rick did do. But what was going through your mind on those Sundays as you tried to protect me the best you could what what made you take a chance on that little towheaded? Amy?

Sharon Reynolds 8:23
I I don’t know how to explain it. But I do know I remember one Sunday. You were sitting in your spot on the bus next to Monique and daring anyone to bother her. You are her fierce little protector. And that kind of endeared you in our hearts right there. Because you know if you loved our daughter, and it was honest, it was a pure protective love that you’re good in our book. But one Sunday we were talking about dinner, lunch, dinner, whatever you call it. And I mentioned Did you remember the ice cream and your radar went bowling? And you said ice cream? I said yeah, we usually have ice cream or we have a dessert. But usually it’s ice cream because Mr. Rick works for an ice cream company. And you took this deep breath and went, Oh, I love to ice cream for dessert. I mean, you know, in a way that only a 10 year old can that just rips your heart out. And so we got home that afternoon and I said I wonder if Amy’s parents would let her come eat Sunday dinner with us once in a while. And so he said well ask her next Sunday. And she can ask her her mom and dad because and then if they say yeah, we’ll just bring her home until she’s tired of us. And little knowing how many Sundays.

Amy Watson 9:41
We never got tired of you.

Sharon Reynolds 9:45
I know after each meal you would offer to help clean up and you always told me you’re a great cook and I was still struggling in the kitchen because Rick was a better cook than I was. And in some ways still is. But it then, you know, we put you knew you had to eat what was on that plate? And sometimes you would eat two plates. Wow. And I think that you would want for third I think you were trying to pack it in now realize for the week. And I’d say no, don’t don’t eat any more. You’ve already had what you have to have. So you can have some ice cream. And oh, man, you could pack away the ice cream.

Amy Watson 10:25
I remember him working for the ice cream company. I have such strong memories of the ice cream priors wasn’t it? Or or? Yes, it was bright. Yeah, it was fryers. I remember the ice cream. And I was packing it and I didn’t eat until you know, and maybe this was the first time I’ve ever told you this. But often, you know, we were lucky to get two or three meals locked in that room, that you had no idea that we were locked in. And so yeah, when I came to your house, I ate because I had food. And it’s so interesting that you say that about Monique because, you know that’s so who I am today, I’m still fiercely protective of people. But I just remember that little girl and I hope that Monique will listen to this episode, I want to shout her out because she was part of she is part of the redemption story. Because I just remember the hope even as a 10 year old just looking at the innocence of that little baby in that car seat sitting next to next to me on that bus. And I remember thinking I will I will never let what’s happening to me happen to you. And so I actually remember forming that thought at 10 years old. So So that answers the my question like you took a special interest in me and and it’s interesting too, that you say that I helped clean up before I was even taught and so so so I just remember to though, after we would have those those meals, we would take these epic naps, these Sunday naps, the ones that I wish I could take to this day. But what I want to tell you too is that was the only time I could sleep when I was safe was that time between Sunday after we got done eating and we went back to church on Sunday night at your house at yours in Rick’s house was the place where I was safe when I could sleep and and I hope that Lynette and Garth Piper are listening to this too because they came in later as my youth youth directors and sometimes I would go to their house that anytime I was at your house or somebody at victories house my friends, or Lynette and Garth was the time that I probably slept the best on those Sundays and I’m I just I’m so grateful. So grateful to you. As we are talking to podcast listeners out there. And this is a celebration of my birthday and really I’m dancing with the ones that brung me I would not be here, had you guys not planted the seed of Hey Amy, we love you, but Jesus loves you. And making and sharing I have such beautiful memories of sword drills. I still confined just about every book in the Bible faster than just about anybody. Scripture memorization in the darkest times of my life, and particularly I’m thinking particularly in the domestic violence portion of my life. That Scripture memory that you guys, you guys get it now you bribed us, but you guys that I want a candy or ice cream or something which is funny because I don’t have a sweet tooth now but I just remember that the scripture memorization and the songs and the just the love that I felt in that home and I want to publicly thank you for that. And I’m not I know you’re shy and introverted. So I won’t even ask for a response on that. But I want you to hear my heart on that. And so but I do want you to encourage those other people out there that are in churches and schools and neighborhoods when they see somebody a kid like me, and you get that still small voice in the back of your brain because Gail said the same thing she said I don’t know what it was about you mama gallon said the same thing. I don’t know what it was about you. But we just bonded well. We know what it was about me. It wasn’t about me at all. It was about a God who gave you guys a burden who gave you guys a calling. And you actually listened to that calling, as I’ve mentioned in the podcast with when I was on with Mama gown, which listeners will hear after you as you are the epitome of the Isaiah six nine which by the way, you taught me that scripture memorization where God says to the prophet Isaiah, who will I send and who will go for me? And Isaiah said, Then said I, Here am I send me? Well, I remember remember memorizing that scripture under your tutelage. And so do you have anything to people out there? Who sees a kid? Or somebody it could be a domestic violence survivor or somebody actually in the thick of it? What do you say to those people who hear that still small voices help that person? Give them some ice cream, whatever that version that ice cream is? What would you have to say to them?

Sharon Reynolds 14:47
One I would say listen to that voice. It’s not a voice. It’s God urging you on it’s the Holy Spirit going nudge nudge? Yeah, and in this day and age sometimes it’s scary to invite Have yourself in anything, agreed. But I think we never know what difference that will make in someone’s life, I had no clue we were going to have this kind of influence in your life, none whatsoever. But at the same time, it’s like little things you read on the internet and you hear from time to time, be kind to that person, you don’t know what they’re going through that one smile, that hug that word of encouragement might be what keeps them from harming themselves that day, or may give them the courage to go to the next step in winning the freedom from whatever situation they’re at. And we both know, there’s just so many situations in this world that can capture you and hold you.

Amy Watson 15:47
That’s so true. And had you guys not done that? Had you held all of those things close to your you know what I’m saying? Like had you had you said, That’s too messy, I don’t want to be involved in that. And and he and even Gail said, Who is on after you? Even Gail said we just didn’t have a clue. And you just set it to like you are already amazing at hiding what was going on, which is which is really enlightening to me as I continue to, to do this work. But that Yes, listen to those voices, don’t ignore them. If it’s ice cream, a cup of coffee sitting by them in church, you know, a nice little text message a check in anything, you never know, when you’re somebody’s lifeline. And you never know I share an I don’t claim to anything of fame, whatever happens as a result of this podcast, or anything I’ve ever written or anytime I ever have gotten, or will get behind another microphone or a podium, or keyboard will happen because Rick and Sharon Reynolds, planted the seed and I talked about the parable of the seed, as Jesus talks about in all four Gospels, and you guys planted it, and other people came along the children’s home and some people from college and and on and on and cultivated those seeds. And to survivors out there, I want to say to you that I did have a take I did have a role to play in this is that I received that seed. And here we are 30. Well, gosh, a lot of years later, 45 years later, 40 years later on a podcast that will be broadcast around the world. And as my doctor always says, the things that are that that I’m able to do. He said you shouldn’t be able to do that. I should I should be dead, really. And so I wanted to just thank you so much. And so as we close out, it is my birthday. This is the time and I don’t give my mic to people very often. But I wanted to give you the mic just I keep telling people this, this podcast episode might just be for me, because it’s going to be audio gold for me to have. But do you have anything you would like to share on my birthday episode because I am 50 That means you’re you know, 51 I’m just kidding. But I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you, Rick Reynolds, I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you. Monique, I want you to know, I’ve loved you since you were two years old. And to Michelle, I didn’t get to know you as much. But what a fantastic family who has made Kingdom impact. And we don’t have time, but we could talk about your parents and just Kingdom advancing people who loved that little towheaded kid who ran to the bus so much so that she almost ran into the door, which is hilarious. So that part does not surprise me about me. But I do want to give you the mic as it is my 50th birthday as I’m given to everyone for anything that you would like to share so that I could have forever and ever. Amen.

Sharon Reynolds 18:37
Alrighty, well, first, I want to say 50 is nifty. And our family we celebrate every decade. So I’m glad you’re celebrating this decade. But I got back in contact with you a while back. And you were going through the end of the rough time with the court system. Yeah. And you in one of your blobs you wrote the question, Who am I? I don’t know who I am anymore. And I sat down after that and started writing. Little known fact I write my feelings. And I wrote this about you and if it’s too long, I’ll let you decide. Now you go for girl. All right. You have been to the fire and have come out forged to steal yet you have the softness of a newborn skin. You have witnessed face to face the evil of man when he yields to the prince of darkness. You have chosen to not let it make you hardened and uncaring towards others. By yielding yourself to the King of kings, you have sunk into the abyss of darkness and acute pain created by the evil that surrounded you. Yet when the light of pure love was given to you by those that God sent you fought and clawed your way into the light of a life worth living, all the while surrounded by a cloud of seen and unseen witnesses, pulling you forward and upward in both prayer and Dede, you hid the evil being perpetrated on you, because you were led to believe that this evil was deserved. And if you shared this pain, no one would believe you. Yet when the burden of pain caused by this evil became too great, you confess to those who truly knew you. And then they amaze you with strength, courage and love beyond your understanding. You turned your back on that evil from time to time. And then the evil would try to pull you back into the abyss. Yet you stand tall as a child of the Most High. Sometimes with knees knocking and gut churning, you need must face the evil and say, Get the hence Satan. inquiry of the name of Jesus knowing that his power is supplied by the father of light, love and liberty, which causes evil to flee for darkness cannot survive in the light. Who are you? He were Amy. You are a sister to an awesome woman who loves you like no other. You are Mamie, one of the few I trusted when my precious baby girl because you loved her with a pure protecting love. You were at maybe two others that you love and protect with the same fierceness. You are the niece of a man who proved to you a man could be kind, tender and loving in a way that did not cause harm. You were a cousin that with other peasants, created safe, loving and fun memories that to this day reside in your heart. You were Watson, entrepreneur extraordinaire. That was a mouthful. You’re a friend to people who know they can count on you having their back. You are an orphan as the world sees you, you have a family that was forged together through fire. Most importantly, though, you are a child of the King, orphaned no more. Your family circles the Earth and through this family. God sends reminders that you are his. That is who you are. You are seen. You are worthy. And you are so loved. Happy birthday, Amy.

Amy Watson 22:08
All right. Thanks for making me cry.

Sharon Reynolds 22:10
You’re welcome.

Amy Watson 22:11
Wow. Oh, my word.

Thank you so much for that you’ve left me speechless. And that’s pretty hard to do. Thank you. Thank you for being here. I just love you to death. Monique and Rick manette Garth, the Ministry of victory Baptist Church, the Ministry of Victory Christian Academy. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks for being here. Sharon.

Sharon Reynolds 22:36
You’re welcome. love you girl.

Amy Watson 22:38
love you more. My heart felt like it was going to explode. My breathing was too fast and too shallow. Uh, fell to the ground. The concrete semi indoor basketball court was an altered by my heart fall. In short order. I was in my cabin at the bill rice ranch in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She refreshed the cold washcloth and returned it to my head. I felt better almost instantly. But the warm sensation I felt from the care of an adult who wanted nothing more than to help me. I was excited. She was my counselor. She found her way into my heart long before that. Gail was the wife of the pastor of that same church where Rick and Sharon answered that I was every week. I honestly don’t remember my first interaction with Gail. I do have vivid memories of her pursuing me, invited me to sit with her at church. I loved when she rested her arm on the church pew behind me. It felt like a hug and she felt like a mom and knew she was different. And I pursued her right back. As it would turn out. Gail and her late husband Ray also planted seeds, but they were there too. So them too. As oft mentioned on this podcast, Gail was the person who is brave enough to call the authorities once there was enough evidence of abuse and neglect. Today I’m honored to have her here as we pick up where Sharon left off. Soon enough. They didn’t have to pick me up for church because for the first time in my life, I had my own bed, three meals and was not responsible for anything else besides myself. And how I acted not my food, not my shelter. I wasn’t responsible for any adults. I have Gail to thank for that. And today I’m so honored that she would come on to the podcast and share a little bit with you of what she remembers of teenage Amy and how her family really is the reason why I am able to turn 50 today. I love Gail so much I have not seen her in decades. And so I am so grateful that she agreed to come on to the podcast today to tell a little bit of her memory of those times and to wish me a happy birthday sent Two minutes. So let’s jump into this conversation with. Well, guys, I hope that you enjoyed that conversation with my friend Sharon Reynolds, who was one of the very first to plant a seed. And as the reason why I can be behind a microphone and tell you about the star of the story, who is Jesus? Next up, y’all I have been looking forward to this conversation more than I can really put into words, and I am so grateful that people who have listened to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast have heard me mention this family many, many times. Because they they took the seed that Rick and Sharon planted, and they planted some more seeds and cultivated the ones that were already planned. And so this is Gail Dunning, who I would not Dunning anymore, but I knew her as Dunning. And she and her late husband, Ray were my pastor and his wife and their family, and who took me on for about 18 months. And so if you’ve listened to the podcast, you know that story, if not head back to season one by Gail, I would love to welcome you to the podcast today. I can’t pronounce your new last name so so that we do that Justice what it tell us your new last name. Vandenberg Vandenberg, that’s not that difficult. So yes, we lost your late husband, Ray a couple years ago, his birthday is coming up, I always remember his birthday because it was exactly one week from mine. And so I know that he is watching down from heaven, so proud of you. And and of me, frankly, I know that he would be proud of me. And so we’re just gonna jump right into this. So I just have a couple questions for you. It’s my birthday, you said at the beginning of the when we started as your show. And so it is kind of my show. So I keep telling people, I hope everybody else enjoys this episode, because this is really for me. And so it is my 50th birthday when you’re listening to this episode. And I gotta tell you, where, right when I made it to 40 I thought hallelujah, thank you, Jesus. I didn’t I never thought I’d make it before it. But now 50 is like, wow, as we look over the faithfulness of God. And so, Gail, I have asked you to come in, I asked Sharon to come in and kind of represent for that first decade because I was 10 years old when they came and picked me up while they weren’t the original ones to come and invite me to church. They were the ones that cultivated that. And then, of course, I came to victory at first. We had a pastor there Dr. Estes, and then you and Ray came. And I can’t remember when I actually first met you. And I know it’s been a long time ago, and I’m asking you to read way back. But what are some of your very first earliest memories of a young Amy?

Gayle Dunning 27:39
sweet, lonely little girl. Beautiful. And blonde, it can be too thin, way too thin. You started speaking to me every service. And then one day, he said, Can I sit with you? And I said, sure. You can sit with us, of course. So actually, I didn’t pick you. You picked me. And you started sitting with us every service that you were at church. So I was lonely. We were new there. And I wasn’t lonely. And I felt very glad to have someone to reach out to me. And be friendly to me.

Amy Watson 28:28
Wow. So I think everybody first is going to be Amy was shy, really I keep telling people that but nobody believes me. So here’s somebody who has confirmed what I said is that I was shy. And obviously then from being malnourished and locked in rooms and all the things I do remember and you’ll you’ll get a gift from me on this episode, because I told a story at the beginning that you’ll hear when that episode drops. But one of the things I said in that story was how much it meant to me when I would sit with you guys at church. And you would put your arm on the Pew behind me. And you knew where you knew how far you could go and how far you couldn’t. And so sometimes you accept your arm a little bit about around my shoulder, and I remember my body almost physically reacting to that. And then you would move your hand back a little bit, but it still felt so much like a hug to me. And I just remember, gravitating towards you because you cared

Gayle Dunning 29:21
eventually, not at first,

Amy Watson 29:23
right. And I’m still not a huge hugger. But I’d love to have one from you right now. I’m not gonna lie. February. That’s right. That’s February coming to Florida. Yeah. So one of the things that I wanted to ask you, and I didn’t realize that I know that being you know, one of my best friends as a pastor’s wife. I tend to kind of gravitate to pastors families, for some reason. I have a couple friends that are pastors wives, and I tend to gravitate to them. I’m not sure why. So it doesn’t doesn’t surprise me that I came to you. And it’s interesting because I was about 10 or 11 when you and Ray came to victory, and so some significant trauma had happened up until that point. And so I was looking for somebody to love. And I just remember feeling very loved by you from a maternal standpoint, but you guys were new there, you had three kids of your own competing for your attention. And you just said, I chose you. And fair enough at the beginning. But at some point, you chose to continue to invest in me. And the story that I told that you’ll hear when the episode drops was at the bill rice Ranch, a very vivid memory I have at the bill rice Ranch, you are my camp counselor there. But so even Yeah, it was such a precious memory I felt so loved and safe and fed. But you still decided so even though young towheaded, Amy came to you and pursued you, and what a blessing that is to my heart to hear that, you know, you were feeling lonely. And so this gave us some something that that’s, that’s so cool. And it really is a testament to who we are, who we are at, something I would do today is come up to people and talk to them. But you still chose to invest in me. And lots of people listen to this podcast are in ministry, and they don’t know what to do with situations like mine hurting children. But what made you keep choosing me?

Gayle Dunning 31:10
Well, my mom and dad taught us from very young, that everybody needed to be loved. And everybody needed to be drawn in to not only the love of Christ, but the love of people, godly people loving godly people, or even godly people loving ungodly people. And that’s why we chose. That’s why I chose to continue loving you. Do you want me to tell the story of how you actually came to live with

us?

Amy Watson 31:50
Yeah, I do. Because that would have been my next question. So one night, I came to church and told you some things. And I really want to hear your version of this because I only remember. Okay, very dramatically. My version of it. So I know I came to church and told you some things. And for the sake of the podcast, and to keep it PG I don’t we’re not gonna say what I told you. But yes, I’d love to hear the story of how I came to live with you and Ray, and David and Tim and Rachel. Okay.

Gayle Dunning 32:15
Okay, here we go. One Sunday evening, you came in, and you had a large paper grocery bag with you. And the top was folded, closed. And you came in and you sat down, and you put the paper bag under the pew. And, um, by that time, sometimes you were sitting next to Rachel and sometimes you were sitting between us. And anyway, I leaned forward and I said, What’s in the bag, Amy? And you said everything I need? I said, Okay, what do you mean, everything you need? And you said, Well, I’m not going back to that house. And I have everything that I need for the next couple of days. I said, Well, where are you going? Are you going to go spend the night with somebody? And you said, I don’t I don’t know where I’m going to go. But I know I’m not going back home. I said, what’s going on? And he said that things are happening to me there. And I’m just not going back to that house. And I was alarmed. I jumped up. I ran up to the lay in run, but I walked up to the platform. And I said, Ray, something’s going on with Amy. And I don’t know what it is. But I think I need to take her out of the service before it starts. So that I can talk with her and find out what’s going on. And he said, Okay, he said, I want you to have somebody with you that knows her better than you do. Because you don’t know her that well. And I said, Okay, who do you suggest? And he he thought for a few minutes. And then he said, I think Mary Lou should be the one that would go with you and Amy. And so I I went over and Mary’s daughter was there. And she wanted to come to I felt like it needed to just be me, you and Mary Lou. So, Mary Lou and I and you we went to a little room at the back, you know, at behind the pulpit area. There were some little rooms in that hall. And we went to that little room and we sat at a table and I said what’s going on? And you wouldn’t go into A lot of graphic detail. You just said there was a man that was living at your mom’s house and he was doing things to you that you that you thought were wrong and that you did not want him to do to you. A felt like we needed to know that this was sexual abuse and that we needed to do something more drastic. And so I went back out in the song service had already started, but I went ahead and got ready to sit down from the pulpit for a second while I said this sounds like sexual abuse to me. And he said, Well, it sounds like we need to call CPS. And so he he motioned to Gary and asked Gary to come and go with me. So Gary and Mary Lou, and you and I, we call CPS and we let you do most of the talking. We sat there listening. And then when the CPS officer had a question for the adults we would answer. Then, after we spoke to them, they said we agree she should not be going back to that home because it could become drastic. And in my mind, I’m thinking is drastic enough already. In any case, I’m

the CPS officers said Do not take her home with you tonight Mrs. boning, she needs to go someplace where her mom does not know where she’s at. or anything she needs to go to someone, someone else. And so Mary Lou said that she could take you home with her for the night or for the next two nights, however long needed. So that night, you went home with Mary Lou. And the next day you even came to school the next day. And after school? Well not. I think probably in the in the afternoon, CPS called and asked if we could come and bring you to an office in downtown Jacksonville. And we said yes. And so we took you out of school. We told the other children to just go to the their dad’s office and wait, when we got back. We went to downtown Jacksonville to the CPS officer office and met with a CPS official, a couple of representatives and a couple of legal aides. And they talked with you. And they asked if you could come and stay with us. And we really nice. Both said yes. And we were not we were living in that little house. I don’t know

Amy Watson 38:12
if you read on Bassett road. Yeah.

Gayle Dunning 38:15
We were living in that little house. And so you and Rachel had to share a bedroom. And somehow somewhere we got an extra bed to put in there. And so from that point on you stayed with us until they told us okay, next toward the end of the week, you’re going to be called in to meet with the judge. And so we saw okay, we’ll meet with the judge. Come to find out it wasn’t that at all. It was an actual court in the court culture mother and asked her mother to come to court that day. And so we had planned a three day family getaway. And so we packed up all our stuff and the kids and we packed up you you had all of your belongings that you could that you had with you. And so we just we didn’t know what was going to happen. And so we were prepared for the worst. In any case, we went to Jacksonville court. And the kids and I stayed out in outside and waited at the car. And you and Ray went inside into the meeting and met with the judge and it wasn’t just the judge it was court and they went in and you sat up with the the legal adviser and the judge asked to a few questions, and you answer, and then he asked great to stand and raise stood. And um, he didn’t even call Ray by the right name. He called him a totally different name, but he met Ray. So Ray stood and the judge said, you are the pastor of this church? And Ray said yes. And raised in he said, and you’ve known this child for a while, and Ray said, Yes. And he said it. And I’ve known about her her circumstances for a while, too. He didn’t mean the sexual abuse, but he meant that you were from a very poor family. And so the judge said, Well, in this case, I remand this child, any Bodenheimer to the care of you and your wife. And that was that,

Amy Watson 40:59
wow. And I remember that was after that, that core day had to have been after like, member, she agreed to take me back or to get rid of the man. And you guys took me back to the house. And then there was a note on the door, where she said, gonna get married mom. And so I remember that court hearing after that. And I remember the judge signing away my mom’s parental rights. But that story is so precious that you told to me because I don’t remember most of that. It was so traumatic. And so, so So I lived with you guys for 18 months. And during those 18 months, I that was the first time I had my own bed. That was the first birthday. I remember the birthday that I spent with you guys. You guys bought me this pink bike. And that bike was like the thing, right? It was it was everything to me. I remember you and I taking walks around the neighborhood because we moved from that smaller house to a bigger house out kind of a little bit separated, had a pool. And yeah, I remember re getting doughnuts every Wednesday night after church. And every Thursday, I remember the first time every week zoom was because you made me. And so I settled in nicely. And my counselor often says those things shouldn’t be able to happen. But I felt very loved. But certainly, and I’ve mentioned it many times on this podcast, when a child has that much trauma, there is some attention seeking behavior. And I had a bunch of it and I needed some help. And so there came a time when you guys had the made the very difficult decision to place me in faith children’s home in Tampa, Florida, for which I will always be incredibly grateful because Jacksonville in and of itself, even to this day, Gail holds nothing really nothing very, very few good memories for me. And so to get me out of Jacksonville was so smart. And to get me into the children’s home was also so wise because they were equipped as they could be to handle stories like mine. But I’ve always wondered what that felt like for you. What was that decision like for you

Gayle Dunning 43:01
before we go there? Can I tell you a little more? Sure.

Amy Watson 43:04
Yes, go ahead.

Gayle Dunning 43:06
Do you remember the day that you my mother and I went to your former home to get whatever belongings that you wanted?

Amy Watson 43:21
I do and I remember it all being gone.

Gayle Dunning 43:25
And it was heartbreaking to me and my mother to see you walking around in that place. Looking in saying I had this, I wanted this it was my dad said I wanted this and it wasn’t there yet. And I remember how heartbroken you were about that. And it just it just broke my heart. And it made us want to try to give you everything that had been taken away. As far as the decision. You the court had said that it was required for you to see a child psychologist for several sessions and so we did our best to find a Christian psychologist because we did not believe it would be in your best interest to have a secular one because they would not understand what are faithless. In any case, you saw a wonderful man who, um, I feel like helped you.

Amy Watson 44:41
I remember him I’m trying to remember his name Dr. L some big gun with an L.

Gayle Dunning 44:47
Yeah, I remember that much also. Yeah, in any case, after several months, so many sessions. He asked to see Ray and I alone And so we went in to see him and he said, I love Amy, my heart breaks for her circumstances. But I’ve done all that I can do. And she said, I need to tell you and Ray, that you are not equipped to help her. You are not equipped to deal with what she has gone through. And she needs more structure and more help than what you can give her considering you’re a pastor. And you both are working. He said, This is not going to work she needs every day all day focused attention. So we didn’t know what to do. We pray, I cry, he probably cried with me. But we would sit I would sit on the end of the bed and just saw because I felt like a failure. And it was so difficult for me to accept the fact that I had done all that I could do wasn’t enough. So we started looking, we started asking questions. We talked to other foster parents, we just searched out every avenue that we could. And finally, Dr. SDS said, you know, I think Amy needs to go to the children’s home that we support, they are prepared to help someone in her situation. They have several that have gone through this. They have focused attention and they have people that are trained. And she will get that all day one on one attention that she desperately needs. So after many tears, and much searching and prayer, we reached out to the children’s home and they at first they weren’t sure they had room. And so we just we prayed and waited and prayed and waited. And then one night they called and said we have a space. Can she come this next week? And we I mean, I was like, oh my That’s too fast. I’m not prepared. I don’t know that she’s prepared. I don’t know if this is the best thing. But we decided that for your welfare, for your maturing spiritually as well as physically and mentally and emotionally. We needed to do. So we went ahead. And we got you ready. And Ray took you down. I had to stay home with the kids, but really took you down to the home. And the whole time he was gone. I was just a basket of tears. But anyway.

Amy Watson 48:10
Well, I was gone. But I wasn’t.

Gayle Dunning 48:14
We got to bring you all in once a month. Or if we couldn’t bring you home, we got to go down and visit you once a month.

Amy Watson 48:21
Yeah. And I have to tell you that some of the life lessons that I have that I learned in those early years were on those trips when it was just you and me rushing back from from church to Tampa. And looking at it Gail from a 50 year old standpoint, and you weren’t even 40. At this point, I think that we need to highlight that right? You weren’t even 40 at this point. And so looking at that decision from my lens now as an adult who has had not official foster children in my home, but has had people that have lived in my home for a short while, and just being and my own stepson who I sent, actually to the children’s home who unfortunately died of a drug overdose a little over two years ago. And so now I know how it felt like for you. And I just want to thank you for making that decision. Because it was a very unselfish decision. Right? I know because I know that I loved ray with all of my heart and he was the first man that that that I could say that about because so many had hurt me before that. But you and I had this unbelievable special bond. And we still do even though we attempted to do this on Zoom earlier. We hadn’t seen each other for for over 35 years. And so this is just my chance to say thank you for making that unselfish, unselfish decision, and we bring up your mom for a second and let me just tell the world what a treasure Martha Googe was. I remember her at the time I think they lived up in Chattanooga or somewhere like that and and I would get packages in the mail to your house with my name and and Rachel and Tim and David didn’t get it, but I got it. And she had gone shopping for me and bought me clothes, I can still remember what those clothes look like. And so you need to know that that legacy that your mom and dad built in you as missionaries and Anguilla and and you have brothers from from that island and nieces and nephews. And so it had always been in your heart to help kids like me. But I am so incredibly grateful. And so as we, as we close out here, this is a humdinger of a question. But as I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast, this is going to be for me more than anybody else. And so it is my 50th birthday, you were one of five that I chose to be on the podcast for my birthday. And so I would just like to give you a couple minutes to say anything that you would like to say, as it pertains to me. And you know, wish me a happy birthday?

Gayle Dunning 50:42
Well, Amy, I totally agree with you, there were you had some really serious medical issues. And there were times after I, we let you go to the children’s home, I worried that you were going to get what you needed. If you were going to get the medical help you needed. I should have trusted them. But I didn’t, because in my heart and my mother, but I’m grateful that you are making your 50th birthday. Yes, I want to say Happy, happy birthday, may be blessed in may be special. And may it be exciting. And may God bless you. So strong, and so much. You have a story that can impact and help so many. And I am so grateful that you are using that story, not for the negative, you focus on the positive. And I am so grateful for you telling the story in that way, because so many just focus on the negative instead of the positive and you are choosing to focus on the positive of what God can and will and does do. We can see it in you. I have to admit, I didn’t agree with every decision you made. But you know what I had given you to the Lord when I first got to you. And so I had to trust him that he was going to continue to work. I’m proud of you, and the direction God has taken you. And I pray that this birthday will be one of the best you’ve ever had. Though I believe with all my heart, the ones we have in heaven will be even better.

Amy Watson 52:45
Yeah, I can’t. Can’t disagree with you there. Well. You said my three, you said my three favorite words. And those are I’m proud of you. And so I want you to know that you guys

Gayle Dunning 52:56
May the Lord bless you and keep you and increase you and strengthen you and give you wisdom and courage and love. I love you.

Amy Watson 53:12
I love you so much. Gayle. Thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for your investment in my life. You need to know that. As I mentioned in the beginning of the podcast, which this part you didn’t hear but the scripture that is in all four Gospels where Jesus tells the parable of the sower, some people plant some people, some people cultivate and some people are able to reap well. I want you to know that the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast Every word I’ve ever written. Every time I’ve gotten behind a microphone at a church or somewhere would not be possible without the investment of you and Ray and the Ministry of victory Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida and Victory Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. And I could name 50 People from that church and that school who are the reason why I am still here today. So thank you for being here with us today. I love you. And I can’t wait to see you in February.

Gayle Dunning 54:08
Okay, I can’t wait either.

Amy Watson 54:16
I’ve always loved mountain air. There’s something about it that promotes clear thoughts. The air is grounded and and the weather in the spring perfect. It was on one of those days I found myself sitting on the top step of a massive outdoor staircase and Front Royal Virginia at a church. I had sunglasses on this so that she couldn’t see my tears. But she merely listened. As for the first time ever I articulated some of the horrors of the first 15 years of my life. Mama gallon create a space in my heart the very first day I became a resident of faith children’s home in Tampa, Florida. And I’ve told that story on this podcast before about how she was one of the first people who ever told me that they loved me. And that’s a really cool story. So hopefully you can catch that somewhere on another podcast. But she and Dan McGowan had founded the children’s home before I was even born. At that point, they were no longer part of the day to day operations at the children’s home, but they still traveled with us and we visited supporting churches. It was those times that she would lend an ear. Give me sound advice write me pink notes. Pink notes whose words reflected sowing the seeds planted by Rick and Sharon continued cultivation by Galen Re. Mama gallon also planted more seeds, seeds, a truth that were on time, they would have fallen on lethal soil before this time in my life. I’ve always had a special bond with Mama gallon. Today she and dad McGowan are living their lives still in the Tampa Bay area. And I hope that they are embellishing and the fruit of the harvest of their work. This podcast is one of those fruits. Today in a rare interview appearances mama gallon, and I get to spend just a few minutes with her and you guys get to hear what I got to hear. And that wisdom that I got to sit under for eight years while I was at the children’s home. So let’s drop into this conversation with Mama gallon. Okay, guys, I hope that you are enjoying these conversations and a little walk down memory lane, as Sharon and Rick Reynolds planted that seed took me to church, and had Sunday afternoon dinners with me and really just served a role in my life before Galen Ray Dunning picked up that stick and that baton and kept me in their home for 18 months. And now I am so honored to bring to the microphone, and a rare rare interview appearance. I’m not sure that she would do this for many people. But she has agreed to do it for me here on my 50th birthday. One of the people that is absolutely responsible for my being alive, you heard me tell just one of many stories that I could have told in the introduction about how mama gallon has just stood in gaps and stood in gaps and stood in gaps for me since I was 14 years old. And so mom, I would just love to welcome you to the podcast.

Thank you for doing this.

Mom McGowan 57:21
You’re very welcome.

Amy Watson 57:22
I am incredibly, incredibly grateful. I know the rarity of being able to grab you. And so we’ll just jump right in. I know that it has been a long, long time. But I am very, very curious. This has been a really fun question for me to ask, what are some of your earliest memories of me?

Mom McGowan 57:39
Well, it has been a long time. But it is a day. And Amy, I will always have in my memory for when I walked into the kitchen. And I looked over and there was a girl 14 years old, over in a little corner by the refrigerator. And as I looked at her she’s saying in our heart, I’m here. And I looked over to your eyes. And I saw so much hurt once you had been through, and no words can put what came out of your eyes and want bond and instantly, I felt in my heart towards you. And I just prayed them before I even walked over to you. I prayed all dear Jesus. Let give us the wisdom to show her Jesus’s love. Not only that, but people that love her and let us be real to her. And so then I walked over to you and leaned over. And you looked at me funny. And I said, let me ask you a question. Has anyone told you today that they love you? And honestly, I don’t remember your response. I think he just looked at me. I did. But I felt that for her. So as I look back, I just have so much thankfulness in my heart for what God has done in your life and he gets all the glory. He does get

Amy Watson 59:17
all the glory. And you guys taught me that you really did. And I remember that day. And it’s been well documented on the podcast. And I did I just looked at you because I thought I mean you have such a southern accent as my listeners are hearing. But I started the podcast and this is going to be my gift to you when the episode actually drops. But I told the story about when we were at a church in Front Royal, Virginia, I will never forget it. And there were a ton of stairs and you and I sat at the top of the stairs as we waited to get ready for this service. And for the first time in my life to anybody I told you. Some of the things that had happened to me in great detail. Gail was on the podcast earlier and she said I never would tell them any details. And so I’m just wondering as an adult, I can’t even imagine Some kid coming to me telling me everything that I told you. Do you remember your thoughts on that day? And in that moment? Yes, oh,

Mom McGowan 1:00:07
I remember that day very clearly, we had to come early back to the church that day, which we didn’t always do. But I guess some of the kids had people had that will go to work or something. And then they left them at the church, and you happen to be one that was there. And so we went up to that, like you said, top stay up, and I looked at you, and we just for a few minutes, just sort of exchange things and all the sudden, but this time, you and I had formed a relationship. But I know there was so much hurt down in your heart, there was a past that you felt you could or would never share. As I listened to you, Amy, my heart was hurting for you. As we sat there on those steps, you slowly began to share those awful things that was in your past. From the day we formed a special bond, as I listened to you, and the feeling that I have was hurting for you. But God put a love in my heart instantly. And that was the bond for you. And as you deal with people, you’re gonna have that, but it doesn’t come with everyone. But you will have experiences like that. And you were you were one of them.

Amy Watson 1:01:34
Well, thank you. And I knew that God knew that I needed that. I had never been able to call anyone mom before. I will never forget, you know, you wrote me pink notes after pink note and listeners that are listening in the children’s home, everything was donated, and somebody had donated sheets and sheets of pink paper and mom would write me letters, or little notes. And I still have all of those to this day. And there was a special bond. And I just want to thank you mom on this podcast for listening to me that day, because I believe that that was the day that started so much healing because you listen to me. We were at that church because we traveled and sang and you and dad. And this is something that I’ve always wanted to know. So by the time I got to the children’s home, I got there in 1987. So the children’s home have just celebrated at least the one in Tampa, like their 20th anniversary, but you and dad like dad was a had a full career in the military and you had two children, London Cindy, who I love shout out to them, they will be listening to this. I love them, both of them also a reason why I am doing what I’m doing today. But what spurred you guys to start a children’s home in your 40s Basically,

Mom McGowan 1:02:43
well let me back up just for a minute about those steps. They will continue. The Lord gave me the verse He healed us and brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. And Amy, that is just for God did for us that day, slowly, one at a time.

Amy Watson 1:03:01
So true. So true. And it wasn’t done right. You guys walked through me. I mean, I have you in one decade, but you’ve been in four of them, including when I was going through the domestic violence and you’re right that that that is such a precious verse, but it really was, you know, my getting out of that. And my healing is so rooted in the children’s home and dad McGowan and you and the pink notes and dad saying, Dan church, stay on your knees stay in the word of what I didn’t do and made mistakes. But do you remember what the Lord has called you guys to help kids did something happened to spur that on?

Mom McGowan 1:03:40
Well, we lived in Covington, Indiana, and of course, we had a good church there. We were there 10 years. And we dad did a lot of things. He was the choir director, the music director, and he was a deacon and much more and we held Bible clubs. And for the fifth and sixth graders and then for some of the older children, we had them in the yard, they would come and we would just teach them God’s word. And this is something you would never remember. Because Cecil, that is ancient. We did flower boards for you showed the children on the flannel board.

Amy Watson 1:04:15
I actually kind of do remember that. Yeah.

Mom McGowan 1:04:18
Yes, we did that. And then the word. As dad says you get all your answers from the word. Just different things. Different verses were just coming to us and coming to us. And the main verse was in John Hart it says, So sin died you? Well, I could and that couldn’t get that verse out of our heads. And at that time, he was doing a missionary contado was acquired there. And the name of the cantata was so sand Daiyu so we really and truly took that as Okay, Lord, we’re gonna obey. We don’t know what’s out there. We don’t know what you want us to do. But we’re we’re We’re here and we’ll do whatever it is you want us to do, or wherever you want to send us. And that’s how it all began.

Amy Watson 1:05:07
Wow, I had actually never heard that part of the story. And so for those of you don’t know about the children’s home quickly, they started their first children’s home in Melbourne, Florida children’s home, and had three children’s homes ultimately, before dad retired completely by faith, never bought anything, everything was donated, I learned so many moms, so many of my friends mom, referred to me as as a prayer warrior. And I learned that from you guys from the children’s home learning that all things happen on our knees. And boy, when I have veered from that, I have paid for it dearly. But it reminds me of that verse in Isaiah six, verse nine, which I believe is true about my life, where the Lord says, who was sent and who will go for me. And then the prophet Isaiah says, Then said, I hear him I send me. And that is the prayer of my heart as I go out. And I minister and as you mentioned, you know, there will be those times when I will bond with people that I’m helping. And I have done that I’ve really experienced that. But one of the reasons why I really want to do here on my 50th birthday is because you you are teaching me to carry your torch, I want to take it from you. And I want to carry the torch to help people and obey the call to go to the Amy’s in the middle of a cabinet and a refrigerator and follow the prompting of the Lord. And so I guess that’s kind of my question to you is for those out there listening who are like I want to make that kind of difference in the lives of people you obey that call, the obedience of that call for the Lord to send you is the reason why on December the first 2021 On this day that this podcast is being broadcast that I’m celebrating a fifth my 50th birthday, because you answered that call, because dad answered that call. But there are people out there wondering, how do I know? How do I know when I should help him when I shouldn’t? Do you have any advice for people that want to invest in the lives of those around us like you did me?

Mom McGowan 1:07:10
Yes, I do. First of all, you said that you surrendered your calling that you took from me, and I’m glad you said that he makes encourages me. And that makes me even more so happy to pray for you. I know, God is usually new greatly and will continue. But there’s days to Amy that you get weary and discouraged. But the person that you’re dealing with, no matter who just love that person loved us so much for them and they can tail me Yes. And you know this because you were on the other side, if it’s real or not. Amen, we have a lot of people that go off on that. But you can tell. So let that person give your heart to that heart of the one you’re trying to reach. And they will know that you are real, and not just someone there to talk to or try to get you better, or whatever. And stay is that says stay in the word as you read His Word, and glean from it, the person you’re dealing with that day, God always gives a verse before you start to talk from your devotion that morning, or sometimes just that still small voice in your ear. And that helped me more than anything. And the children are just like you know, are desperate for someone to care and to love them. And they it’s what you’re there to do this through the problems and all but you have to first bond that love and ask God to give that love from your heart to the person that you’re helping. And sometimes I mean, they don’t respond, we know that not everyone is a success story. But that doesn’t change the fact you’re still supposed to do what God has called you to do with that person. It’s up to them to accept or to reject. But the encouraging part, I’ll share a story with you when not more than just one maybe. But we had this young man and we just managed especially that manager to administer this boy. And when he left we both just said, Oh, water laws, water laws. So we hadn’t heard from him years. And then one of our reunions that we had this man came up to me and he said, You don’t know who I am, do you? And I looked at him and I said, Well, I do and I don’t. But the one that I was thinking would never be here today. And he said, Well, it is me. Wow. And he told me his name and I looked at him I said oh my goodness first then answer. I would never in 100 years believe that you took in anything that we don’t. He said I didn’t for years it was there but I didn’t. I didn’t listen to I did my own thing. And then gradually, some things happened in my life. And I look back at the children’s home and I look back, or she won’t, and not just as a staff, and I’ll count me. And he said, acid, I’m gonna go and let them know. And I want to thank you. So I knew when you looked at the most discouraging one that you’re trying to help, don’t give up. Just keep doing it keep doing even if that person rejects you. You may not ever he may know later, they may contact you. But we don’t know the others that that remembered and obeyed God that we never know about. But that’s okay. God knows. And it’s, that is what keeps you going. And I want to share something with you about what makes you keep you going. This is from my heart to your heart. I had discouraging days to its home. And you were the one that helped me through discouraging days because I looked at you. And I saw real commitment and real love. I mean, not every day didn’t pop out on you. But basically, and I, as I said, we had a bond and when I was discouraged, you are the encourager, to me, you never knew that.

Amy Watson 1:11:19
But But wow, I didn’t know that. But it was modeled for me well with you. I didn’t know that. But you know, looking through the lens of an adult now, I see. I’m really kind of speechless. I’m so grateful to have what you just said to me on audio, because it’s just so precious to my heart. And you and dad always used to say, and this was so ingrained in my mind as when you talked about ministry, if one person, if one child, makes it out of here, and carries on the gospel, and heals and does things, it will be all worth it. I hope mom, I don’t hope I know that I’m, I’m one of those ones. But to hear that I as a child encouraged you to keep going as so is the best birthday gift that you could possibly possibly give me. And so I just want to thank you for being here today. Thank you for being here. For my birthday celebration, I will always treasure this, I will always treasure my time at the children’s home. And I think that what you’ve given the people that will listen to this podcast is just an encouraging word. And to my heart, I had no idea mom, you know, we you know, you’ve walked with me through four of the five decades that I have been alive. And you have walked with me through some dark times and the domestic violence that we’ve talked about on here. And I know that that must have been scary and discouraging and all the things for you. But you never gave up on me. You and dad drove to Jacksonville when I had major surgeries and you just never given up on me. And so it wasn’t like I left a children’s home when I graduated from college. And you guys just said, Hey, good luck with that. So you never gave up on me. And in those darkest hours, I always remembered something that you said to me. And it was taught and it talked about bitterness and resentment and anger. And you taught us and you would point and I’m pointing to my heart, what’s in here, comes out here and I’m pointing to my face. And so it’s because of you that I can get behind the microphones and keyboards and podiums at churches and stuff like that. It is because of faith children’s home and you and the call but I am so grateful to be at least one of the ones that I hope made that ministry worth it for you guys.

Unknown Speaker 1:13:38
Well, let me say this to Amy. As we look at you, we just thank the Lord for you. And for what you’re you’re doing it just makes our heart warm and we thank Jesus, that you truly are spreading the gospel and helping hundreds and hundreds of hurting people and they know it’s real. But I have to tell you this as you dad said to tell you that you were his encourager every time he needed a sip of water there was sitting on the pope

Amy Watson 1:14:14
oh my god that means the world to me. Yeah, he called me as cut beer and dad was Dad Dad was one of the ones that I was not afraid of. And he had me get him those cups of water to put on the pulpit because he knew that I that he needed to find a way to connect with me. Well, Mom, I have taken the baton from you. You may rest tell dad he may rest

Mom McGowan 1:14:37
me you know what I do? Have a morning. I don’t know if there’s your church uses this song but is out. Just say the words because you know I can’t sing every morning. In the morning. When I rise. Give me Jesus Give me

Amy Watson 1:14:53
Jesus. And you know what? You know what other song that I would I would sing if I could but I can’t so I won’t but you Thank you, Lord, for Your blessings on me. Yes, yes, you’ve given me a, you’ve given me a family, a fine family is what we used to saying. Thank you, Lord, for Your blessings on me and Mom, thank you for being here. And like I said, You may rest I have the baton. And I hope that people behind me will take the baton from me, but we will never stop standing up in a world in a dark world. Even if I have to stand alone. I will never stop fighting for hurting people just like you didn’t. I want you to rest mom. I want dad to rest. We got it from here. And I got one last question for you mom the gallon? Has anybody told you today?

Mom McGowan 1:15:41
Yes, they have dad McGowan. But I’ve had, and I haven’t heard it from you. But I just did. And you know, know what joy that brings to my heart.

Amy Watson 1:15:51
Well, I love you. And we got it from here. I want you to rest and knowing that all of that work, all of the toiling some of the seeds that you planted for some of the kids did land on deaf ears, but somebody cultivated that late later. But this podcast is a cultivation of the seeds that you planted in my life at 15 years old. That’s a long time ago, 30 years ago, and I don’t know 35 years ago, 35 years ago, you planted that seed and so I just want to thank you so much. And as as we end here, I just please tell dad that I love him. And I want both of you to give me the baton. I will give it to others. We got it from here.

Mom McGowan 1:16:33
Well, here it is. I mean, you have it.

Amy Watson 1:16:35
I love you so much. Mom, thank you for being here today.

Mom McGowan 1:16:38
I love you so much and so proud of looking at you and not a godly, wonderful lady of God that you are.

Amy Watson 1:16:48
Well thank you mom. It doesn’t happen without you. I love you so much. Thank you for being here.

Mom McGowan 1:16:52
I love you honey.

Amy Watson 1:16:57
I stood in the Dean Of Women’s office. I fully expected to walk out of that office dismissed from Clearwater Christian college. I was deep in the throes of grief and confusion. We had only flipped the calendar two times between that day and Mrs. Grubs office. And the day that my sister and I had to make the decision to take my mom off of life support. I was only 19 years old. I had no concept of how to grieve the loss of a mom who never was a mom, Mrs. Grubbs his office was on the third floor overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. I barely heard her come into the office. She had a reputation for being tough. So I was fully prepared to be dismissed from college. Had that happen. I don’t believe I’d be here today celebrating my 50th birthday. Of all the words spoken that day. I only remember this sentence that she said, If you attend counseling with one of our residents, advisors once a week for the rest of the year, you may stay under strict probation. About to fast forward 20 years, and Chris and I stood on a St. Augustine beach on a cold windy day. She not only saved my college career, but she remained a steadfast friend, one of 20 people at my wedding. And on that day standing on the beach, she slipped back in the counselor mode. I had not told anyone about what was going on at home or the copious amounts of pain pills I was taking that she knew something was up. She promised her prayers and I knew I had them along with her unconditional love. When I did leave that domestic violence marriage, I moved back to my college town, in large part because Chris was still there. When I landed a job teaching she bought me an alarm clock. When I had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized. She was there. When I had to go to court to get restraining orders. She was there. When I’m feeling unrest. I remember a verse that she taught me on walks and Philipe pork and lunches at Taco Bell. Isaiah 26 Three, I will keep him in perfect peace because as mine is stayed on the because he trusts in the when our alma mater closed after 50 years in 2015. She and I shared a stage as we paid homage to the place that built us today over 30 years later, Chris or some people call her Dr. Wit not me, is still a 2am friend. I will always mention her name when I tell my story. And I am so grateful to have her here today. And love, love love for you to drop into this conversation with my friend. Chris do it. Well, guys, we have made it to the part of the podcast episode next to last everyone’s been talking about that towheaded kid well, that towheaded kid grew up and graduated from high school and went to Clearwater Christian College. Shout out we are Clearwater on a full ride scholarship. You heard how I met Chris DeWitt and the story that I just told you. And so Chris, welcome to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast is Oh, so amazing to have you here.

Kris DeWitt 1:20:03
Thank you, Amy. It’s a privilege to be with you today.

Amy Watson 1:20:06
So I don’t know, you know, 50 use the same really old. But as I prayed for us right before the podcast, I realized that you have been involved in three of the decades of my life that does seem like wow, that is crazy. I am so grateful. So I met you, as the listeners heard when I was in college. And so I know it has been a long, long, long, long time. But I’m asking everyone this and it’s been the answers have been so much fun. But what are some of your earliest memories are your interactions that you have of me?

Kris DeWitt 1:20:38
Oh, Amy, I picture you on the campus of Clearwater Christian college like it was yesterday. My memory is not of you as a college student. But as a child singing with all the beautiful children in your matching outfits from faith children’s home, you stood out, you are a shining star with your huge smile and your outgoing personality. And I can still picture you singing little as much when God is in it. Oh,

Amy Watson 1:21:06
my word I forgot. We sang Clearwater.

Kris DeWitt 1:21:12
Year after year, and I spotted you. And then I do remember meeting you as you first began classes at Clearwater Christian College. You were one of the first kids from faith children’s home to get a full ride scholarship to attend Clearwater. When I first talked to you seem so excited for the opportunity to attend college. Yet at the same time, you appeared a bit overwhelmed, frightened, and may I say a little apprehensive. But all my all of that quickly changed as you spread your wings. You expanded your community and you enjoyed college life.

Amy Watson 1:21:50
Wow. Wow. I loved my time at Clearwater Christian College. And as as some of the listeners will know, an accordion and by the way, listeners, Chris, who I am talking to is also a CCC alum class of 1987. Correct. Wow. That’s impressive. Watson, I have to say so myself very impressive. But yeah, that’s so funny little as much when God is in it Labor not for wealth or fame. Oh, wow. I remember saying that we digress. So I had forgotten that we sang there. But I you know, I was standing in the front row with my hair jack to Jesus and probably earned and won. Well, some of my most precious memories of you. So I’m going to flip the switch for a second. We’re walks at Philippi Park. I don’t know how you did it on the Clearwater Christian College salary. But you took a bunch of us to Taco Bell all the time. I don’t even like Taco Bell, but I loved it with you. Then at then I moved on to campus and was a proctor. And so we had proctor meetings in your apartment. But probably one of the most impactful things, memories I have of you early on is that you you had created a GriefShare group. Because that semester for some reason, so many students have lost people. And to this day, some of my closest friends, I met in that group two of whom will be at my 50th birthday party and that and we remain friends this all this time. And so yeah, it really is and I and you never did that group again. And we met in your in your in your apartment on a Monday night. And we process through our grief. Well, and you kind of mentioned that a minute ago, when I got to Clearwater Christian College, I spread my wings and got community I’m super outgoing, although that some of that guests earlier today from when I was early childhood said how shy I was, which nobody believes me. But it really is true. Not seeing that sign in 30 years. But a huge component of this podcast is community. So clearly, that’s been important to me my whole life. And that is what you gave me, as the listeners heard just after my mom died. You are and just lots of we got lots of Clearwater, Christian College alumni that listen to the podcast. And so there’s this big joke among the people that were there. Among that time is you were Chris at that time. That’s what we called you, Chris. And then we were supposed to call you Mr. Wit, which I never did it that way. Yeah, that was hard. And now fast forward a whole bunch of years. You are Dr. Kristen DeWitt, a professor at Cedarville. University. And so but this question I’m asking as your friends so it’s, I know it’s gonna be difficult not for you to answer me professionally. But what spurs you to help kids like me and building that community because you are still doing it today at Cedarville 30 years later, why is that so important to you and to anybody who feels called to do it?

Kris DeWitt 1:24:39
Oh, it’s such a privilege. The Lord has been so gracious to me, just to allow me to cross paths with so many people in my lifetime. I’ve met people that really are on the same path I am on a path toward Christ’s likeness. For some people this path has been filled with potholes and bumps and loss and loneliness. hurts and detours, yet each person, each person has a story. And I’ve always wanted to hear the stories behind each face. Because behind each face is a redemptive story that only God can write. And if God in his sovereignty allows me to be a small part of someone’s story, I’ve totally thrilled. I’ve never really met anyone with wealth or fame. But I have met precious people more important than rich and famous people. I’ve met people who are chosen, bought with a price, forgiven, redeemed, treasured, and eternally loved. I’ve met people for whom God is writing a beautiful redemptive story.

Amy Watson 1:25:42
You’re a made me cry for real because I Yeah, and, and so listeners out there, what she just said is, like, be a part of the story that God is telling. And so yeah, I can imagine Chris over the 30 plus years that because you essentially graduated from Clearwater Christian College, and almost immediately got your, you know, started transitioning into getting your master’s degree from Liberty University. And as I mentioned, since then, you know, you’ve earned a PhD, and are now a professor at Cedarville University as unfortunately our alma mater close after 50 years in 2015. But I never thought of it that way. Like how it must be like to be you to all the Amy Watson out there, or as you first knew me, Amy Bowden homers out there that, that you’ve been able to speak into their lives, Shine Jesus more than anything, because that’s all you’ve ever done for me, you’ve always pointed me to him, you’ve never judged me. And so that coupled with that your decision to continue to pursue a PhD in psychology, why is mental health in general, so important to you, as a Christian and as just a human?

Kris DeWitt 1:26:55
It’s a good question. emotional and mental health affects our lives in so many ways. It impacts our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviors, our relationships. And I think unfortunately, mental health is often a topic that gets stigmatized, especially in Christian circles. And our mental health affects how we cope with everything else. And if individuals don’t get the help they need, their life can quickly unravel. And they can find themselves in an uncontrollable downward spiral. So when people are brave enough to ask for help, and seek treatment, they can learn to cope again. And before they know it, they can hope again. So we should value mental health and wellness as much as we value anything else.

Amy Watson 1:27:41
Louder for the people in the back seriously. And so guys, I have brought Chris on because she is one of my closest friends, and has been involved in my life, as you heard in the story that I told you since I was a sophomore in college. But this is a professional, talking about the importance of mental health. And I love Chris, what you just said there. So for anybody that is brave enough to seek help. And I’ve gotten a bit of a passion for mental health, because I can I see what can happen when we couple counseling, and therapy. And for some of the higher acuity things, medication. But when those things are the on the periphery, and but it’s a gospel centered approach in the middle, then, then that bravery is met with such hope. And there are still things that I struggle with, as you know, but such hope Thank you for saying that both as my friend and from a professional level, because this is what you do. This is what you teach. You’re teaching Christian college students to go out into the world and do what you just said. And so it makes my heart so happy to hear that long after we are both gone. Hopefully, the work that you did at Clearwater Christian college with not only me, but hundreds of other people. I’ve never seen anybody get so many friends on Facebook than when you got on Facebook, because of your investment in the lives of people. But there’s still people that will go it alone. And so for those out there considering going along, you watched me do this. I remember one time you came to St. Augustine, you got in your car and you came to St. Augustine, I remember it was cold because we were standing on the beach. And I was deep, deep, deep deep in the throes of that domestic violence marriage and I had not told a single soul. I was also addicted to pain medication had not told a single soul. You don’t know this, but you probably saved my life with that trip because of what you said up in the community part is that and and the counseling part you gave me some hope and as a little bit of time before I’d got that help and before I got out of that marriage, but I look at that day on the beach as a lynchpin in my healing but, but for people that don’t have a crystal wet, but are in the throes of darkness like I was, what do you have to say to them to give them hope so that they can cope so that they too can have a Joel 225 story and this is a Joel 225 day this one right here, though my story is not complete, how can other people have stories of redemption?

Kris DeWitt 1:30:14
First and foremost yet in addition to getting professional help, we all need to run to Christ. For it’s in Christ alone, that we can find peace. When our our lives seem frazzled, and our hearts are restless, we need to stay focused on Christ because when our mind our minds remain on Christ, they’ll fill us with his unimaginable peace, Isaiah 26. Three. When we feel rejected, and lonely, and we all do, and our hearts sting with pain, as it seems, no one cares, or no one even notices. That’s when we need to cling to Christ, realizing that nothing can separate us from His everlasting love, Romans 838 and 39. When Thunderbolts of regret Ignite and threaten to consume us, we need to run to Christ for it’s only then that we can experience the downpours of his forgiveness and grace. Lamentations 323, when the burden of our hearts just are so heavy, that it consumes our thoughts and depletes our energy. That’s, that’s all we need to rest in Christ, knowing he will comfort and sustain us Psalm 5522. So bottom line is run to Christ. That is where you will find peace. That is where you’ll find hope.

Amy Watson 1:31:33
Yeah, and I could not agree with you more i We call him the star of the story on this podcast, because he is he is the star of all of it. And so listeners out there, you don’t have to go it alone. Find you know, the three C’s on this podcast are church community counseling, and then highlighting the star of the story who Chris just beautifully outlined, as Jesus, He is the answer. And even if you don’t have a crystal wet in your life, who will stand on the beach with you, probably knowing what was going on, but was smart enough to not say anything about it at the time. People want to help but paramount to that. I would just recommend that people and Chris, I think you would agree if you’re seeking help you’re seeking community for for really for anything but it particularly for emotional pain, trauma, please make sure that you put yourself under the the eyes and ears and love and protection and prayers of somebody who understands that it has to be Jesus and Jesus alone. In Christ alone. Only, I know that I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be that in the lives of some people because you don’t get to be 50 without making some effect on somebody’s life. But you we get to choose what effect we get. And I’ve made some poor decisions. But Chris, you’ve been there with me through thick and thin. I know your heart just must be so happy. When you think about what you saw that day on that beach in St. Augustine. I don’t know if you remember that day as well as I do it. But it was a day I forgot that you you defended your dissertation that I asked you that question. But for those of you out there listening, there is hope. And because of that hope there is there is a way to cope. And if that includes all the things and including, or in addition to I should say, highlighting the star of the story, including medication as Chris said, We need to stop stigmatizing it. We live in a fallen broken world where trauma is going to happen. And so so that that’s just a little encouragement to those of you out there who are lonely or may not have a crystal wit or even five people like I did on this podcast where I where people just love me. And so speaking of loving me as we close it as my birthday, and I don’t give a birthday, thank you. And I don’t give my mic away very easily accurate, but I do keep telling people that I will cherish this audio. You are bringing up the rears for me as crispy as after you bet. I’ve already recorded hers. And so it’s my birthday. And I would love to just pass the mic to you and any message that you might have for me.

Kris DeWitt 1:34:04
Thank you. Yeah, so happy birthday,

When I think when I think of you and personal characteristics that you have, here are a few thoughts that come to mind. I just love that you are affable, you’re good natured, your listeners probably already have figured that out by listening to you. You’re friendly. You’re so easy to talk to so that everyone is comfortable in your presence. You You are the real deal. You are just so genuine appreciate that. I also like your good sense of humor you and I undoubtedly enjoyed some good gut laughs I’m amazed at your hard working diligence. I know you will never settle for anything less than your best and especially when it comes to your walk with the Lord. You’re never content with your spiritual journey and Christ is certainly magnified in your life. In addition to fun times we’ve had I had a close up view of In a person, Amy who has endured trauma and suffering, I would like to just give you a tiny glimpse of what I have seen as the storm of suffering has swept over your life. Whether it was the grievous abuse he suffered as a child or the domestic violence she endured as an adult. You, Amy, you have used those circumstances as a platform to exalt Jesus. Suffering has not only been an opportunity to privately place your dependence on the Lord, but suffering has also seemed to be the pressure that pushes the character of Christ to the forefront of your life, so others will clearly see Christ in you. I’ve had a very precious special time when I can sit back and quietly watch you as your life has been put on display, as if you were in the front window at Macy’s for all the passer buyers to see. And those passing by see a gleaming showcase in which to view the precious gems of God’s character that are reflected in you, Amy, just as a diamond seeks to sparkle more brilliantly, when displayed in a black velvet case, saw the radiant beauty of Christ like character seems to shine in you more splendidly against the backdrop of suffering. Thank you, Amy, for being a shining example of God’s faithfulness in the midst of the storms of life. So Amy, there’s nothing, no circumstance, no troubled no testing that even touch you until it has first gone past God and pass Christ right through to you. Passing through the one who loves you most. It has come that far, it has come with great purpose. It surely has been a process but I’m confident that you have now found the purpose for your pain. So thanks me for sharing your story behind the face or shall I say behind the microphone. Thank you for always making much of Christ through your life circumstances. God is faithful. We can trust him. Don’t ever forget that little as much when God is in it. Labor not for wealth or fame. There’s a crown and you can win it. If you go in Jesus name. Happy birthday, my dear friend. I love you dearly.

Amy Watson 1:37:21
Oh my gosh, you guys are killing me today. Thank you so much for that. I will always treasure that. And I just love you so much. And love you too. And you are the reason why I can get behind this microphone. One of many. But thank you so much for being here with us today, Chris.

Kris DeWitt 1:37:40
Thank you. It’s a privilege.

Amy Watson 1:37:46
Okay, guys, we have moved to the last person who really has now been in my life as of today when you’re listening to this. And actually, gosh, Chrissy, you’re getting ready to be in three decades of my oh my goodness, wow, that’s crazy. Obviously, everyone knew that for the last decade, I was going to pick a Krissy loft ridge. And there aren’t words for me to say how grateful I am. So Chrissy, thank you for coming on to this episode. I am not yet 50 As we’re recording this, but on the day that is reported, it will be my 50th birthday. And you came to me and said, I have something so can we do something a little bit different. So everyone else kind of got a pre story of how we met. And I was able to give them the creative gift of a story that I give you plenty of gifts you don’t need anymore. I’m just kidding. So today, while listeners are listening to me as my 50th birthday, and the Old English poem goes that Wednesday’s child is full of Whoa. And while it might seem true about my life, that is not true of particularly the last 1314 years of which you’ve been part of it. And so I would just love to know what you would love the listeners to hear anything that you would like for me to hear. And I am terrified. So let’s go.

Crissy Loughridge 1:39:06
So what what had really been pressed on my heart recently is I’ve been listening to Shannon Shane’s hymns album, and particularly Him, His mercy is more. So is the kind of key chorus line is our sins. They are many His mercy is more, and it’s sort of a jiggly tune. And so it’s sort of it’s a little bit of an ear worm, and so it stays in my head all the time. And so as I’m bumping into life, a lot of times his mercy is more keeps coming. Just coming to mine and I think you and I were talking about mom, and and I and I started to think about you know, I don’t know that our childhoods could be any different in every way. I don’t I don’t need to go through everything that has has ever happened to you but but really night and day different. And the only overlapping piece major overlapping pieces God. And so I started to see in my mind and and the Lord just impressed on me he is more hit Yes His mercy is more for our sins, but his grace is more, His love is more and, and I started to sort of change the lyrics to the song in your scars, they are many, his healing is more, our hurts, they are many his love it is more. And it just, I just kept thinking it. It doesn’t matter how bad Satan works to make your life broken and beat up he is more see never wins. And so both for you, Amy and for those out there thinking I’m too broken. He is more. His mercy is more His grace is more His love is more as healing as more his joy is more than the greatest sorrow. His justice is more, he is more. And so again, if you can download the song, it’s kind of a fun thing to change the lyrics out whatever it is our sins, they are many His mercy is more our hurts, they are many his love. It is more our pain, it is great. His His love is more. He’s just more. And there’s never, there’s never a day that goes by that I don’t recognize what we’ve been through in the past 1415 years. Easily. Anyone looking in at any point could call timeout. I give up. It’s too much. But he’s more. He’s more. He’s more. He’s more. And I want I want listeners to hear that. But I want you to hear that Amy on on our worst days on our best days. He’s more he’s more than whatever we’re going through. And I need that. I need to know that every day. I know you need to know that too. No matter what he has more. And he loves us more than than anything. And I’m so so grateful. I’m grateful for you and I’m grateful for a God who is more because we face really hard things every day.

Amy Watson 1:42:41
Sorry. I knew you’re gonna make me cry. Um yeah, yeah, I I didn’t think that I would make it to 40 I certainly didn’t know that I would make it to 50 but what a perfect way to end this podcast as some of the most special people to me in my life. And the reason why I’m able to sit behind this mic have been on this podcast today. And all of you have done life with me so closely and maybe sometimes look at me and say how how can she still be and fill in the blank breathing air and I don’t know that there’s a better way to end a birthday podcast celebrating a half century on this planet holy cow. And that he has always been enough. So Chrissy thank you for for coming on here and for celebrating with me and I know you’re you’re not big on birthdays, but I’ve made a big deal of this one and but it could you couldn’t have summed up my 50 years of life anymore. And I love that Shane and Shane song. And it is kind of catchy. And now it’s in my head. The another song on that album is I will wait for you I will wait for you and and I’m so grateful for the people that have been on this podcast and for 50 more that I could have asked to be on this podcast that have come to celebrate with us today. But Crissy what you just said just kind of sums it all up. He is more. He’s not enough. He is more. And so as I end the podcast, I literally want to read the lyrics to the song by Nicole Norodom and called I Am. And as I celebrate my 50 years of life this has been true about my God. And so I will not end this podcast the way I normally will. I’m going to read the lyrics to this song. And then after that, we will just fade off into the next thing. But this has been my god this has been the God that Chrissy has just explained to you the God who is not enough. The God who is more more than all of it. And so Nicole Nicole Nordmann writes a song that just walks walks through the faithfulness of God in the life of Human beings people. But this song has always been special to me, and has always resonated with me. And so I’d love to share the lyrics, if you would so indulge me on my 50th birthday. pencil marks on our wall. I wasn’t always this tall. You scattered some monsters from beneath my bed. You watch my team, when you watch my team lose. You watch when my bicycle went down again. And when I was weak, unable to speak, so I could call you by name. And I said, elbow, healer, superhero. Come if you can. You said I am. Only 16 Life is so mean. What kind of curfew is at 10pm You saw my mistakes and watched my heartbreak heard when I swore I’d never love again. And when I was weak, unable to speak, so I could call you by name. And I said heartache, healer, Secret Keeper, be my best friend. And you said I am. He saw me were white. By pale candlelight, as I said forever to what lies ahead. Two kids in a dream with kids that can scream too much it might seem when it’s 2am. And when I am weak, unable to speak still I will call you by name, Shepherd savior, pasture maker. Hold on to my hand. You said I am the winds of change and circumstance blowin and all around us. So we find a foothold that’s familiar. And bless the moments that we feel you near. When life had begun. I was woven and spun. And you let the angel stands around the throne. And who can say when that they’ll dance again. When I am free and finally headed home. I will be weak unable to speak. Still I will call you by name, creator, maker, licensed stainer comforter, healer, my Redeemer, Lord and King, beginning and the end? I am. Yes, I am. Thank you, Jesus for being more.

Hey guys, so a special surprise. I have Dr. Thomas Pettit here. And my question to Dr. Pettit is who I have been in counseling with since 2008. Dr. Pettit, what is your very first memory of

me,

Dr. Thomas Petit 1:47:50
the word that comes to mind is the word together. You were surprisingly together, you were cool, calm, collected, confident. And it didn’t seem to match what I was aware of or hearing for the first time that you had been through. And, and I was more struck by there was somehow something very real and very genuine about that togetherness. So that’s my first memory.

Amy Watson 1:48:24
Interesting night. Yeah, I remember coming in and telling you everything like I was giving you directions to the bank. So well thank you for that. Well, well, you are going to actually exit us out of the podcast because you are one of the reasons why I am turning 50. And so I just wondered for for my listeners out there and it is my birthday. So I am just going to ask, Do you have any special birthday celebration words, encouragement, because it’s not just for me, it’s for everybody else

Dr. Thomas Petit 1:48:49
too. So I do the word is homeless. And that’s the thread that connected that togetherness. So there was a mismatch of that togetherness. It was more of survival. It was more of yeah, all that you had harnessed and harvested to make it through all that had happened to you. But the wholeness was the genuineness that you were hold then you are home now and so that togetherness has given way to wholeness. Amy, you are whole

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Advocating Differently, The Audrey Mabrey Prosper Story-Domestic Violence (audio & Transcript)

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READERS: This is a transcript to a podcast and is not meant to present as a completed, grammatically correct, piece of written work. We provide these transcripts for our hard of hearing community and for those of you who prefer to listen inside the blog. We would love to have you as part of the Wednesdays With Watson family! You can do that by clicking here.

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 0:00
He’ll never take away my feature. You’ll never take away my happiness. You’ll never take away my character you wanted to beauty. Take it. You can have it

Amy Watson 0:17
everybody, and welcome to a very special bonus episode of The Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts. It is October of 2021. And it is both Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As many of you know, I am survived for both. I do want to just say that about the first two minutes of this podcast, maybe sensitive to some listeners, it certainly is inappropriate for young ears. And if you are currently in a domestic violence situation, or early in your healing, you may want to scrub past the first two minutes. But the remainder of the episode is filled with hope of how Audrey got from such a tragic, tragic situation, to the place where she is today on TEDx talks on all kinds of shows like Dr. Phil investigation ID, where she is advocating differently. Audrey reminds us in the episode of why everybody matters, even our abusers. So I hope that you enjoy the hopeful parts of Audrey story. Regardless of how tragic it was, for her to get to where she is today.

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 1:32
was the type of man that constantly accused me of cheating on him. He was a controlling man. He was a jealous man. But he never hit me. I left school that day, came home as soon as I open the door is when he bombed Rashmi stark naked with a butcher knife. He immediately took me into the garage. He laid me on the ground first and was trying to bribe me with a butcher knife to my throat. And I was saying to him, you know, what are you doing? I love you. I love you. He then struck me in the head with a hammer four times he threw gasoline at me grabbed a candle and tossed the candle at me. And I went up in flames.

News Reporter 2:16
Investigators say it appears Christopher Haney doused his wife, Audrey Mabry with some sort of flammable liquid and then litter on fire.

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 2:25
I began to pray God, just let me live. Just let me live. I spun up open the garage, and ran out in this neighborhood and ran to me as I was rolling in the grass and hit me with her son’s jacket. That was it. We’ll never take away my feature. They’ll never take away my happiness. They’ll never take away my character. You want it to beauty. Take it, and you can have it.

Amy Watson 2:54
And then she told me what Jesus did. domestic violence survivors know it when they see it. So one night, I was on Facebook. And as I was just scrolling, I scrolled past it first. You know, it wasn’t the scars on her face or her neck, her arms or legs. It was like this light in her eyes and the way that they match the smile on her face. Her lips didn’t seem to want to curl up though. And in retrospect, that it was uncomfortable to smile because of the scars. But her smile guys lit up the screen. And as she spoke, pure, unadulterated joy came from her instrument. Because you see her voice box made it audible but it was the authenticity of her heart. That stopped me in my tracks. She was literally doing a Facebook Live from her closet where she was selling some of her stuff. But I couldn’t help but think this was a woman who refused to be entrapped in the prison of her pain. No closet could silence her voice. She didn’t talk about the burns in the scars that night. She only talked about how awesome life was and how it was worth living. And then she said, I believe I will find love again. I believe it will happen. So at that point, I had to know what happened. Because that day Audrey didn’t tell her story. And so I went looking for it. And you just heard part of it. But then she told me what Jesus did. And I can’t wait for you to hear it. This by far is one of the most hopeful stories I’ve ever heard in my life. enjoyed this conversation with Audrey Mabrey prosper, who is spending her life advocating differently for domestic violence. Okay, we are here with Audrey prosper. And Audrey is really guys one of my favorite people and somebody with her I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time in the trenches with So Audrey. Welcome to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts.

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 5:08
Well, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here with you. Just to chat a little bit today.

Amy Watson 5:13
Can I just tell you how gorgeous you look?

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 5:16
Oh, well, thank you very much. I thought you know, I might pull myself together for you today.

Amy Watson 5:20
Yeah, I think you might be my one podcast that I’m actually able to put on video so you look gorgeous. Well, Audrey, I don’t know if you remember this. And I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this. But I wanted to tell you and the listeners too, as just a bit of an icebreaker of how I came to know. The Audrey what was then Mabry story, and is now Audrey prosper. Spoiler alert, this ends not in a neat bow. But Audrey has a beautiful family and gorgeous if I do say so myself husband, and so she is no longer Audrey Mabry But Audrey prosper. But let me tell you how I met, you never heard this story. So one night, I am laying in bed because I don’t have a life on my iPad, and I’m scrolling through Facebook. And I see you’re doing a Facebook Live. And this was before some of the later surgeries that you had. And so it was still very obvious that something had happened to you. And so it made me stop. And you were going through your closet, and I think you were at your mom’s house in Texas. And I don’t know who was there with you. But I was watching that. And I was just like, Gosh, I wonder what happened. And then you made this comment. And you said, I truly believe that I can find and that I will find love again. And I remember laying in bed and at that time, I was only three or four years out from my own exit have my own domestic violence situation. And I remember laying there thinking she’s insane. You love doesn’t exist, especially after domestic violence, especially after a story like Audrey has, well, it doesn’t exist. But I kept watching and then I connected with you on Facebook. And then you and I did some work with a organization at that time of what you were the chair, the president of the board. And we just we just got to know each other and come to find out the story that the listeners heard prior to in the cold open, the story they heard happened just over a very scary bridge and Florida here, I’m in the Tampa Bay area. And so and this happened in the Tampa Bay area, and so I went searching and scouring for all the things and local news stations and all of that and just fell in love with you. And over the years, we’ve stayed a little bit loosely in contact, but we both kind of really found our lane, in advocacy for domestic violence survivors thrivers. If we do watch some video just raised this my shirt off, I’m wearing a shirt as a purple shirt, because Purple is the color for domestic violence. And it says survivor on it. Audrey actually made this and it says, survivor to surpass all odds with great change thoughts. And there’s another word say tenacity. So I’m trying to Yeah, I’m trying to read it upside down. And so I worthy, I wear this shirt for you today. And so So listeners did hear your story. Your horrific story happened in 2009. And now you have dedicated your life to the cause of advocate advocacy, as have I really. But you said something that caught my attention in the prep interview. And we’re going to put everywhere people can find you in the shownotes. So let’s go back. So listeners heard your story that this happened in 2009. And so you’ve dedicated your life to advocacy. But there are two words that you say in most of your branding. And those two words are advocate differently. Can you tell me what you mean by that?

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 8:58
Yeah. So first and foremost, just I mean, thank you for the opportunity to sit and share time with you today. And to hear you share about you know how you came across it in the beginning was just, I was it was a gift. So thank you for sharing that part two. You know, advocating differently can mean a lot of things for a lot of different people. Right? Yeah. For me, really how this whole thing was birthed, I think, testifies to what it means to advocate differently more than anything else. And that is that. As you know, after this attack that I went through occurred, I started speaking out publicly through the media, national international media, local media. And along the way, I started to meet a lot of different survivors. I met a lot of advocates, I met a lot of survivors who were also advocates. And so for the last three years or so, a lot of these advocates who are also survivors, and myself would have these sort of discussions behind the scenes and when we would talk about advocating. And when we talk about domestic violence, when we talked about, you know, the horrors of what people experience, a lot of times, we were expressing frustration. And that frustration was really rooted in the fact that, you know, I’ve been doing this 11 years now, in 11 years, the number of people being impacted by domestic violence hasn’t declined, right? That’s only one decade, right? When we talk two and three and four decades, you start to wonder, you know, what, what is it that we need to be doing differently? Because apparently, whatever we’re doing is working in some capacity. I think even more so in the end from the intervention perspective, right? Because advocating is, there’s prevention, there’s intervention, and there’s restoration. It’s kind of like these three phases. And so I just got wondering, what do we need to do differently? Well, at the same time, myself, and these other advocates, were really afraid to openly talk about this. And the reason why is because we, we, you know, in the advocacy world, you’re you’re taught some things that are kind of like Silent lessons. And then some of them are open lessons. One of them is don’t try to change the narrative, you know, we have created a narrative that is rock solid, there is a victim, there is a villain, and that’s a, we draw the line in the sand and you’re not going to change it. Well, what we have found, just as we all banded together, and said, you know, what, if we’re not going to be popular, when this is all over, who cares? What we care about is reducing the numbers of people that are impacted daily by this thing. And so when we have have continued the conversations now around advocating differently, and what does that mean? I think first and foremost, it’s about shifting the narrative. Yeah, right. Because this is not I talked about in my TED Talk, it’ll come out soon. This is not an episode of Avengers, right? It’s not a battle of good versus evil, where you know, all we have to do is become the hero, swoop in and save the victim, and then punish the villain. And we can all live in peace and harmony, right? Because if that were the case, then you and I wouldn’t be having this discussion. Right. Yeah. So I think that that is absolutely number one, one of the most jarring experiences I’ve ever had in my life, as you mentioned, both of us being connected to another national organization in the past. And when I got to experience some someone in that organization, basically, what it came down to was this individual had started the organization was creating great impact around the messaging of breaking our silence. And we were doing it, we were breaking our silence, I think in record numbers, it was unbelievable how this this generation of survivors said, You know what, I’m just going to speak out because that’s what matters right now. But then a couple of years into it, her ex who had abused her, was now going to court again, for abusing the next person. And I thought, Wow, all the work that we did, in breaking our silence and helping people heal after abuse, more specifically, women. It didn’t stop him from abusing the next person.

Amy Watson 13:41
Wow, I have chills. So this is the work you’re doing now. Is changing the narrative. And we’re Yeah, we want it. So we are recording this episode for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’ll be evergreen, it’ll be out there forever. And so guys, if you’re listening to this, because what she just dropped on us was, as we call in the audio world, a gem is we’ve got to change the narrative. Because one of the most beautiful things Audrey that I ever witnessed is your ex husband, that the father of your children who did this horrific thing to you, is in prison, yet you a couple years ago, and this also played out on Facebook Live, had to walk through this process. And we don’t have time to talk about the whole forgiveness process and all of that. But all of that to say is that I could see that shift in you where you were like, you could look in the mirror and see what he had done to you not to mention the filmstrip that goes through your brain and look at your children and see him but yet it was still so important to you that he also was a human being that bled on somebody that didn’t hurt him. And that’s hard and if anybody has the authority to say stuff like that, or anybody has the authority to add to put advocate differently, and let’s stop making it The good guy versus the bad guy. And because my podcast preaches that you matter, I don’t care who you are, you matter, I don’t care how bad you are, you matter. And so to change the narrative to be able to help the villain and I’m err, quoting, when I say that, or the abuser is a beautiful thing, and it’s Joel 225 being played out in your life, or that where God says, I will restore the years that the locals have stolen. And so moving into that, though, so for the listeners that are listening, they did hear your story, the stats, like you said, have not changed one in four women, one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. There are good well meaning people that are listening to this podcast right now. And they want to make it better they want to fix it, they want to enter into the situation, insert themselves into the situation, and help. What is your message? And you know, because we’ve prepped for the interview, I have some specific questions for you this but your but your overall message to the one and four and one and seven, because again, they heard your story, they’re going to see pictures and promos and videos leading up to it. And so you’ve got authority here to talk to us to talk to those of us who experience violence in our home by the hands of somebody that we love, and who loves us whether or not it looked like it or not, what’s your message to those people?

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 16:25
I mean, first and foremost, domestic violence doesn’t always look the same. You know, it comes in many different forms, and many different images, and experiences. our way out of that toxic environment also doesn’t always look the same. But what I do know is that when we are immersed in toxicity, we can’t be healthy ourselves. If we have children, we can’t be healthy for them, they can’t be healthy. The other thing that I would share is that while we need to find a way out, I think that the importance of healing is I mean, magnified. He talked about forgiveness and all of that. And I think that it’s an it’s imperative for us to do the internal work. Yeah. To understand where and how we got to where we were, I can tell you right now, for me, a lot of mine was ingrained in in not feeling worthy. A lot of mine was embedded in daddy issues, dare I say, you know, figuring out what is it within us? Right? It’s not it’s not a victim blaming situation. It’s just how did I get

Amy Watson 17:39
here? Yeah. And how can I start it?

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 17:42
Yeah. And how did we get here? And so for the people that experience it, you’re not alone? Yeah, right. There are people who care about you, who want to help you. It’s a very dangerous situation to exit an abusive relationship, that has to be done with a lot of caution and a lot of planning. It’s not fair. And it’s not your fault. Right. Right. That there is a silver lining, if you allow it. That’s perspective, right? In healing. And also that I’m in no way saying that because I have forgiven that everyone needs to forgive. In my foundational faith belief system. Yes. I believe that. Forgiveness is a choice. I’m also not saying that, you know, I was never angry. Or I was never depressed, or I didn’t have anxiety. Were looking at my life. 11 years later, you know, it takes time. Yeah. And I am in no way saying, we need to all just have compassion for the person who is committing these acts of violence. That’s not what I’m saying.

Amy Watson 18:51
Right. Right. So you addressed one of my questions is, what do you say to the person that just left it is the most dangerous time listeners out there, it has to be planned, it has to be done what you just have to and what the a lot of lit lay people and I say that are people who have not experienced domestic violence don’t understand that all they see us. And this is my next question. Why don’t we say to people, why don’t you just leave? From your job? We say to people, yeah, why? Why is that not a good thing to say to people who are currently in? Yeah,

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 19:27
yeah. Okay. I was like, do we say that? Because I don’t say that. You know, I mean, we collect it. We don’t send it back. Because it’s like the image I always have the image of a police officer officer showing up on the scene, and them telling you you know, you’re in a dangerous situation need to get out of it, and they hand you a pamphlet that has to do with all the DV resources in your community. And you’re in a state of trauma. You don’t even really know what you’re being handed. You’re not really even present in the conversation. And quite frankly, most police officers don’t understand And that what they’re really asking you to do is risk your life.

You know, if you say you could die, and if you leave, you could

Amy Watson 20:08
die, you could die.

Yeah. And the moment the most dangerous time is after you leave. And so I know in my own story, I left the country. But I took a few more hits a few more punches, a few more of all the things, because I knew that I needed to do it, well, or I was going to die. And so I, there were three ways that I that I could potentially die, I could die by staying, I could die by leaving, but the highest potential of me actually dying in my particular situation would have been leaving without a plan, leaving without some safety measures in place. And so listeners out there, especially domestic violence survivors, and thrivers, understand that this is the most important part of the entire process is that you plan it and that you plan it well. And I speak into the lives and the ears of those of you who love survivors of domestic violence, even if they’re currently and it is just not as simple as you think it is. Because I still love my abuser who is no longer on this planet. I loved him until the day that I found out that he died of a drug overdose. And I went into a deep depression, because we just don’t unLove somebody and Andre, I watched you with a process with your husband, who was doing a life sentence for what he did to you or your ex husband, excuse me, as doing a life sentence and you co parent really well with them. And with and I think that we need to highlight the importance of co parenting. And I just want to tell you how proud I am of you for that. Because it would have been really easy for you to go to the judge and go, I don’t want these boys to have anything to do with this man that did this to me. But you didn’t do that. Because you understood the importance of your children are biracial. And so that brings in another another layer here, because you understood the importance of raising two biracial young men and the United States of America. This podcast is heard in 48 countries around this world and then this one, but we have racism issues in this country. Parents like you are telling young black boys what to do when a cop stops, and then all the things. And so it’s important also about their listeners, as Audrey does is CO parent, she manages to co parent her two boys with her abuser who is in prison. And that is admirable. And you need to know that.

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 22:28
Yeah, thank

you appreciate that.

Amy Watson 22:30
One of the things that was interesting to me, Audrey, we preach community a lot on this podcast. And so I just want to give you a chance to shout out this early community and those of you in the Tampa Bay area, you can easily find this on any of the local stations. But there were a couple local organizations that helped you one of them was I believe, was hands across Tampa Bay. Who is that? Right? Or they’re the ones that purchased you the car, if I remember correctly? Yes and no, yes. But they were involved, right, a group of people got together in a car was either donated or deeply discounted or something to you. Then you had a doctor. And I want to take about three minutes for you to shout out this doctor because because he is amazing and did amazing things. Not just because using his skills, but as a human being this community came around you this Tampa Bay community came around you. What did this doctor do for you?

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 23:25
Yeah, well, Dr. Gulin is a really special guy. And you are correct that the entire community rallied around me. And if there’s one thing that I wish that all survivors had, it was that level of support, because it literally changed the game for me and catapulted me into my healing journey to know that I was surrounded by so much support emotionally, financially. I mean, mentally, people went to court with me like it was unbelievable the amount of support in Tampa Bay, and I will always, always be so grateful for that entire community. But Dr. Gulin, I was connected to him through another organization that actually did my very first surgery, reconstructive surgery on my neck out of Beverly Hills. And his wife had a connection piece. And she really is the one that took the story to him and said we got to help her Aina is his wife. And basically, I know actually had gone through a fire when she was five years old. So we connected on the burn level. And then she obviously brought me in with her husband and and he I think one of my I think actually my surgery. My last surgery was one of the last surgeries he ever did. Like he was getting ready to retire. And this man literally said, come down here or two hours south in Naples. I want to see what we can do for you. Let’s try to restore and reconstruct as much as we can. We’re not charging you a dime for anything. I mean, I never advocated even beyond that. She contacted the hospital and said This girl’s going to have to pay for her hospital stay Can you guys write it off the hospital wrote that off. I mean it was The anesthesiologist everything right? It was an outpouring of generosity. And thank God also skill because he did an amazing job really deconstructing my neck. Most of the world didn’t know that only had happened. Have an ear on my left side, he reconstructed my ear for me. He even he even took some fat out of my mommy tummy for me and put it in my cheat. So I was happy that I was super

nice.

Amy Watson 25:29
Yeah, well, you You look gorgeous. And I’m sorry to hear that he doesn’t do surgery anymore. Because, like I, again, I got to watch the journey. And I’m going to put all the links particularly to the Dr. Phil episode, because and I’m going to address I’m going to talk about that episode in just a second. But, but you are kind of at the very beginnings of the surgeries. And I want my listeners to see from what it was to what I’m looking at right now. And so the one of the other things that is really big in this podcast is counseling, trauma informed counseling. This is one of the reasons why I started the podcast, it’s the reason why I’m alive to counseling play a role in your healing at all.

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 26:07
Yeah, it absolutely did. And that’s actually one of the areas that we intend to advocate differently in. So shifting the narrative is only the first part of advocating differently. I actually went through counseling in the Bay Area, my counselors name is Danielle and I love her, I went through two years of trauma focused counseling. And it was incredible for me to have that safe space. Listen, the whole community in my inner circle was so afraid for me so worried for me all the time I was in the hospital. And so when I came home, I really didn’t want to worry them anymore. And they were all looking at me and telling me, they’re strong, you can do this. So I really needed that safe space, to share the most authentic parts of me, and to work through all of those processes of healing. But one of the areas that we want to advocate differently in is by shifting some of the legalities around victim’s compensation. I’d like to see the name change first and foremost, because some people don’t even want to access services that are labeled victims. But I also would love to see for survivors to be empowered to be able to choose what healing modality they want, you know, when you when you go through a program like that offers that funding and covers it, you are offered the opportunity for counseling, you’re also offered the opportunity for Western medicine, but it doesn’t give you the opportunity to maybe go to a life coach, because that’s a better fit for you. Or to pursue things like essential oils and supplements and working on your gut and getting your gut cleaned first, because that’s where, like the brain gut connection is so imperative when it comes to healing, because of that emotional connection. And if you are ever feeling highly emotional, the first thing we need to do is clean up our guts. So yeah, that’s just another way that counseling for me was amazing. I’ve also had life coaches in my life. And I definitely use all of those oils and supplements and so on and so forth.

Amy Watson 28:09
Yeah, I need to be better about my gut. But that Yes, same trauma informed counseling, I love that you love something you said there is that they get to pick their modality. So mine, the one that worked for me happened to be EMDR. But there’s internal family systems and a whole bunch of other modalities. And so some survivors out there, you guys know, I preach counseling on this podcast, every single one. And I’ve had counselors on here, I’ve had my own counselor on here. And I simply know that I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. Without that. That brings me to the faith aspect of it. And when I was watching that Facebook Live, I could tell that there was something different about you, even though in that particular Facebook Live, I don’t believe you reference your faith, or even reference god for that matter. But is Jesus the star of your story? Like he is mine?

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 28:54
Yeah, no, it’s for me. It’s the Messiah. And it’s also the father. You know, my heavenly Father, you know, when I was in my most desperate hour, I reached out to him. And I literally said, just let me live. Just let me live. That’s all I want. Just let me live right before going up in points. And he is the one who got me out of that garage that day. And in fact, you know, I don’t even remember if I even prayed in the Messiah’s name during that experience. But afterwards, my experience through him being the star also is me just asking him to show me Chris through his eyes of compassion. I knew that if I looked at him only through my lenses, that I would never be able to see what the Father saw. And so he did that for me. You know, he showed me he was the one who showed me that Chris is a human being. He was the one that showed me that Chris had a past you said bleed over people who never cut you, right? He was the one who showed me that and he was the one who spoken So my spirit to open up the doors of communication between the children and their father, and that was all him. None of that was me, you know, along the way, and it’s incredible what he can do. If we let him do it,

Amy Watson 30:16
that surrender, surrender, yeah. And there’s this tension between blaming God, and letting him bind up our broken heart and our broken wounds. Because, again, I have people that listen to my podcast, but don’t believe in God. And I love how you worded that I call Jesus, the star of my story. But I believe in the Trinity. And obviously, the father, like you said, who gave Jesus to us and gave his only Son so that we could have this freedom so that people like Chris, who’s sitting in prison as we speak, if he accepts Jesus as his Savior, that what he did to you what listeners heard me,

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 30:55
and we had prayed for him for almost 18 months straight, and he gave his life. Wow, do you just lie? Well, you know, it’s if you let him, it’s amazing what he can do. If you let him his sin in the Word, the Word says that we’re supposed to pray for our enemies. And so when I began to pray for him, quite frankly, he wasn’t enemy. Enemy today, you know, but he was back then. And I’m just so grateful. I mean, especially as a parent, right, I want his soul to be safe. But also, as a parent, I need the both of us to be on the same page, in the message that we’re showing you with our kids, right? And what our foundation is in and all of that. So that was important to me for that reason, too.

Amy Watson 31:36
Yeah, I’ve got such chills, because I didn’t know that part. You know, in my research for the podcast, I ran across the news report where the cameras are in the courtroom, and he gave his apology, you know, what I’m going to call it, I’m going to call it also a victim impact statement. And what’s different, right, right, and that, and that’s going to be scandalous to people that hear that he is a victim too. Because again, you don’t just do what he did, or my ex husband just doesn’t do what they did, or my mom who abandoned me, they don’t do what they do. Because just because I mean, we know that evil happens in this world. But when Chris stood there and turned around and, and said what he said, and I can put that in the show notes, too. I was pissed. Like I even as early as last night, I was like Really dude, like, but it was still so broken. And I think we so if you referenced the director of that organization, and that whole thing, and and she gave a victim impact statement, and it just made me think Chris’s statement to the judge, and to you and to your boys who were really little at the time was also a victim impact statement, because he had been impacted by what happened to him. It doesn’t make the horrible thing that he did, right. But he too, had been so harmed. And we don’t compare traumas. I tell people that all the time. And I can’t measure it, you can’t measure it, and everybody is affected differently. And all of that. Well, Audrey, here’s what I want to do. I want to end the podcast two ways. First of all, I want to strongly encourage people to go in the show notes, click on Audrey’s information, she’s got a TEDx talk coming out, which I can’t wait to hear. And that comes out in about two or three weeks, right? About four more about four more, okay, I was praying for you through that. But I want you connecting with her, I want you connecting domestic violence survivors. So the way I do it is you’re a victim, you’re a survivor, and then you’re a thriver. That could be right or wrong. But if you’re currently in a domestic violence situation, if you just left a domestic violence situation, or if you’re like me, it’s been 15 years and you want to heal differently. And you want this freedom of going I prayed for the man who lit me on fire to be in heaven with me forever and ever. Amen. That is only the star of the story that is only Jesus as only God who could put that into your heart. Here’s something though, that you said on that Dr. Phil interview that I want. I want to remind you of you said, you can take my future you can take my beauty, but you can’t take my happiness. You can take my future. You can take my beauty, but you can’t take my happiness. And this was just right after it happened. And somebody year yeah, about a year after a choice. It is a choose we get to choose, and things that help us choose his things like community, church, God. And if we are going to change the narrative and stop the one in four, then one in seven and I would argue and I always have argued that that number is much higher than than it actually is. That then is actually reported because that’s only what’s reported. Exactly. And so I want to tell you how proud I am Have you, I want to tell you that you are making a difference in this world that you made a difference in my life that night because I was only two or three years out. And my ex husband at that time was still very much alive, and very dangerous and all the things and to hear you say, I believe I can find love again and then to watch. And maybe that’s another podcast. But to watch the love story between you and your dare I say, don’t get mad at me gorgeous husband has been remarkable. And you are the you are the epitone of Joel 225, where God is just restoring all the years that Lucas has stolen, and I want my listeners to get in contact with us. So guys, go in the show notes and do that. And connect with Audrey. And I will also connect some of the interviews she was on Investigation ID this story was on. She’s been on Dr. Phil several times as well as many other places. But we didn’t we’re not trying to re traumatize people here. You heard a little bit on the cold opening. But this is a miraculous person that I have sitting in front of me right now. And so Audrey, thank you for being here with us today,

I will be in touch with you because I want to learn how to advocate differently, and how to work the other side of it. There is no victim there is no villain, there are a bunch of hurt people. We’re all broken. We’re all in need of a Savior. We’re all a native community. We’re all in need of just understanding each other and that we bleed on people that don’t cut us. And so even if you’re out there and you’ve been abused, you’re listening to to people who have been abused and we don’t compare, but Audrey was significantly abused as you heard in the cold opening. And as you can hear in some of the links that I’ll share in the show notes that it is possible, it is possible to be on this side. Even if you never advocate for people like Audrey and I are it is possible to heal it is possible to live an abundant life. And it is possible. As you said to me that day on that Facebook Live going through your closet, there it is possible to find love again. And so Audrey, thank you for being here today. I so appreciate it, I will absolutely be back in touch with you. But I cannot stress enough listeners, please click in the show notes and get in touch with her. And then when that TEDx Hall comes out, that will be published on all of my social media the Wednesdays with Watson platform, which is everywhere, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, also now Patreon. This is a young lady who is changing the world, raising two young men who are changing the world, having loved and forgiven a man who tried to kill her and his loving and a beautiful marriage now though I’m sure not without its own problems, because life isn’t perfect. But But. But thank you for being here. And I would just like to know any parting words for for the listeners at all?

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 37:47
Yeah, I would say that if we want healthy fruits, we have to look at the roots. So whenever you hear something that comes across, always start to dig, get curious and dig and, and uncover what those roots really are. Underneath whatever it is that you’re looking at in your life. Curiosity has been tremendously amazing for me. So I’d say stay curious and look at the roots.

Amy Watson 38:15
Stay curious and look at the roots. I love that healthy fruit, you got to look at the root. And so you are absolutely a rock star in my book. And I want you to know you’re part of my healing story. And I’m going to end with you just like I do with everybody else, though. I know you know this, you are seen. You are known. You’re heard. You are loved. And you are valued by so many people, but most of all by an almighty God. So thank you so much for being here today.

Audrey Mabrey Prosper 38:45
Amen. Thank you.

Amy Watson 38:47
Well, guys, I hope that you’ve found such encouragement and Andre story and especially her heart and maybe of Paramount, her mission to advocate differently. I have to tell you, she pushed me a little bit when she reminded me that her abuser mattered too. And I can promise you that that is something that we will be addressing on this podcast in the future. You know, as Phil Baker’s SONG PLAYS us out of the podcasts that is a song called marked by you. And while Audrey is gorgeous and beautiful and unless you look really hard these days, you cannot see their scars. But I wonder if when she looks in the mirror she is reminded of the truth of the song that we’ve been playing for two seasons now. I just want to be a wife marked by you. I wonder if she looks in the mirror and sometimes thanks God for the reminder of his ever present help in trouble. She truly has a life marked by Jesus. We will be back here next week as this was a bonus drop to drop our episode on the Enneagram type three with Best Selling Author Katie dangered. I hope you will Join us back here and the healing zone as we are using the Enneagram to help us understand and process trauma and continue to read through it in a way until you come back next week and so that you know what I’m going to say. You are seen, you are known, you are heard, you are valued!

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Recapping 2021: Making Much Of Jesus (audio & transcript)

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Hey everyone, and welcome to the very last episode of 2021. I wanted to take this time to look back at a year, I have been amazed at what the Lord has done not only through this podcast, but in my life in general.

And knew when I started this podcast that the podcast would grow, and that it would evolve. And part of me knew that I would do the same. Sometimes I listened to that first episode. In the very, very first season season one episode one healing that doesn’t make sense. And that person is absolutely unrecognizable to me. We hit some cool milestones this year, we published our 50th episode, and also achieved an important milestone with episode downloads. We were able to provide double digit pro bono counseling sessions for those who can’t afford it. Later in the year, as of like December of 2021, we suddenly turned into a listener slash donor supported podcast. as of the recording of this podcast, we are this episode we are running a fundraiser on Facebook as well as Patreon. We only have three months three months short of support for all of the production costs for 2022. That means that all donations and merchandise moving forward will fund more pro bono counseling. As well as merchandise sales, we’ll do the same.

I will provide all of the ways you can help in the show notes including the last offering of the you are merchandise as we will be releasing new merchandise next year. So right there in your app, click on that one of those links that contact me will take you to all of them, including the Facebook fundraiser that will end on January 31. And you will be able to join our mission. So guys, what happened? And 2021

Shall we take a short trip down memory lane?

We started the year with Crissy Loughridge

In an episode that we entitled

shattering safety. Let’s listen to this clip.

She sat on the end where she could put her drink down to play the game. And hindsight I remember that he slipped behind her. And then beside her as he as he continued to chat. I was talking to the other dude, I was watching her beat me in the game, but I didn’t care. We were having fun. It seemed like the birthday celebration was going off without a hitch until I looked over.

At her blank guys. The guys disappeared and I knew something was horribly wrong.

That horribly wrong thing that we talked about still affects Crissy to this day. That episode highlighted the definition of PTSD. Her safety had been compromised in ways that she never saw coming. But just like all of the episodes on the Wednesdays with Watson podcast, there is hope and help for those who find that their safety has been shattered. Crissy candidly shares what that night did, it changed her forever to listen to that episode. In any of the episodes that we will mention in this episode. Just scroll down in your podcast app and her episode is season two episode one. We moved on from there to Lindsey Tozer who candidly shared with us her trauma, and she talked a lot and we talked a lot about how the Body Keeps the Score with trauma. The Wednesday’s with Watson microphone was the very first place where Lindsay felt the freedom to share her story publicly.

She continued to share with me how this freedom has changed her. You can hear her story also season two episode two cause of accidental death and injury just by scrolling down. This clip from her episode is so powerful.

The dark January night

and 2001 That day it was as you would expect it to be in the middle of the winter in Indiana cold and the Midwest native was in charge of three small children who sat in the backseat of her car. They were just running an errand and getting ready for something important the next day at church. The Benner car hit a patch of black ice. It spun around 45 degree stop and only when a utility called demonstrated the laws of physics.

After that episode were Lindsay shared with us her story of accidental cause of death in injury. We began moving into even deeper stories of trauma and loss and the third drop of the year was a fellow Children’s Home alum and Marie Rivera. Let’s listen to this clip from her episode when she was at her friend’s house because something was just not right. She remembers when someone finally answered the phone. She remembers the distraught person giving her the news.

suddenly made an orphan. She didn’t see it like her brothers did. She remembers

my friend and little sister trauma survivor extraordinary Marie Rivera elbers remembers that day and everyone after it and bravely wants to share her story here, because Wednesday’s with Watson is the healing zone.

So that is a clip from Anne Marie’s episode who came on to talk about the story of the day that she became an orphan along with her three brothers, as both of her parents completed suicide following her episode, who was her brother, Angel, as he shared his story. Emery as we mentioned in the episode was at a friend’s but Angel actually witnessed this tragedy. A few weeks later, after recording this episode, angel sent me a text telling me that he was seeking help for all that he had ignored. And I couldn’t help but think of the lyric to the song that he picked for his episode. There was something so powerful, and the way that he reads this lyric, they don’t know that I go running home. They don’t know who picks me up. When no one is around. I dropped my sword, and I cry for just a little while. Because deep inside this armor, the wire is a child.

Then the very next episode we dropped healing from PTSD was a special crossover event with Shay and Michelle Watson, as well as a pastor in California whose name is Marcus Watson. But this episode highlighted Shea story of redemption and healing. His clip continues to give me chills. Shea was our first and our only guests with combat PTSD, as well as many other traumas that he experienced in his life, listening to the strength of his voice, and the power of his conviction is incredibly, incredibly inspiring. Here is the clip faith, Grace are suffering, we kind of experience a little bit of what Christ went through. Well, here’s something I don’t tell a lot of people I was laying in my bed sleeping, I was given a dream of Christ being crucified, and I felt so much pain. It was like it was almost like I was experienced the pain that Christ had enough to the point where I got out of bed sobbing, and saying, what I’ve been through is nothing. And when you look at my my story, and you look at my history, it’s not that I’ve been through nothing. But in comparison to the sin that God good Christ took on on that cross, I have been through nothing. And so when I get when I get to be told by my father, who’s done this for me, who put us on on the cross, that you know what, I’m bringing you back to this image, the same image of me. And I want you to live in this image, I want you to live in this victory. I want you to live in this royal priesthood, you are a holy nation. To me, you’re my child. Somewhere in this process, I really began to go to the mat with God. Somehow, quote, trauma survivor seemed to be my only identity and where all of my good feelings came from. And I had to reckon with this. Do I even want to get well? Or is it easier to not be? Well, the warm and fuzzies that I get from all the people? Is it easier to just stay stuck in my trauma? That episode was more for me. But this episode was a chance for me to remind you of the important stuff. The mission of this podcast, let’s listen into this prayer for you is that you would desire healing, because it is for all of us. And don’t forget Jesus wins in the end. And that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.

Don’t forget that guys. Don’t forget that. Also, don’t forget that you are seeing known loved bird and valued

April’s childhood Awareness Month and I spent that entire month seeking out childish things in an attempt to capture the magic of my childhood. And if you want to go back and look at some of those funny things, they are on my Instagram highlights. But since the mission of this podcast is to educate the next episode featured licensed family therapist Erica Cooney. Erica helped us understand attachment styles and childhood as well as adverse childhood experiences. She also helps us understand the importance of early intervention. Let’s call our attachment styles are love map.

Erica Cuni  9:32  
Our love maps are created by before the age of five more closer to four years old, and some are even saying it’s solidified by the age of two. But just know your primary caregivers interactions with you from the get go are extremely important in creating your perception of the world. It doesn’t mean you’re staying stuck in this if you had a insecure attachment you can heal you can find ways to navigate through this. So next up it was an honor to bring another therapy

Amy Watson  10:00  
To the microphone to continue the discussion of childhood abuse since this was still an April childhood abuse awareness month. Jeremy Fox is a licensed EMDR therapist. Jeremy shares with us what extreme neglect does to the brains of children. Fox also discusses the off mis diagnosis of ADHD that is shrouded in trauma and is often a simple PTSD diagnosis versus an ADHD diagnosis. This episode is a must listen for parents, teachers, and anyone who works with or has children. Let’s listen to this Jeremy Fox talking about childhood neglect. And so extreme neglect can actually make children’s brains smaller, not trying to scare people here, because there are ways through that and as you can talk about with EMDR and changes in brain scans. There are certainly ways out of that. But lowered IQ cognitive delay is difficulty with inhibiting behavior. Okay, I was I was speaking with someone on other podcast earlier about ADHD and trauma mimicking each other so that inattentiveness and that scattered behavior is similar to both those diagnoses, but then some neglect can

Jeremy Fox  11:11  
appear as ADHD symptoms as you just heard the behavioral inhibition part especially. So what we’re talking about when it comes to neglect is kind of dovetail with that attachment stuff. The lack of positive interaction from caregivers, okay. Now, obviously, physical neglect in terms of not receiving your essential needs is 100%. Related to that, we’re talking about that as well. There’s different types.

Amy Watson  11:42  
Next brought to the microphone. A friend of mine, Marlena, who has a suicide survivor, I want you to hear her clip first before I continue.

If you have PTSD, at some point, your safety has been compromised.

Those words ringing in my ear, they reverb in my soul, and they help me understand the life I live as a PTSD patient.

She told me nobody ever asked, no one cared. They just threw a label on her because she wasn’t speaking. Instead of even asking or caring. They phoned in the responsibility for that day.

She kept telling me I just wanted someone ask. I just wanted someone to give me a hug.

She told me about the welts they found on her body. But that didn’t stop the nightmare in her home.

In my mind’s eye, I remember her telling me about hiding in a closet. Those words haunt me too.

So that was my friend Marlena. Like who I said as a childhood abuse survivor, a suicide survivor. She was one of the first people that

kind of proved to me that you could still be a childhood abuse survivor with two parents. The thing that haunted me the most and what you heard in that clip is that she just wanted somebody to ask, as she told us on that episode, PTSD happens when your safety or the safety of others or someone you love has been compromised. So next I brought to the microphone. My friend Rebecca millat, who did experience and watched a near death experience. This conversation was rich with aha moments and again highlighted the faithfulness of God. I think the question would become, would she become a widow?

The phone rang and she answered, he took a deep breath, and she panicked. Suddenly, she was back in 2013. And the middle of the night, she recalls I woke up and heard him struggling to breathe. Her 36 year old otherwise healthy husband struggled to fill his lungs with air. He described a heavy feeling in the middle of his chest, she recalled to me. I called 911, just like I saw them do in the movies. She then called family who had come watch her two young boys who were still sleeping. She told me she remember thinking it odd

that the ambulance left with only lights and sirens. She recalls arriving at the hospital where friends and family gathered and she received the news that her young unhealthy husband was in fact, having a heart attack. And it did not look promising. She recalls falling apart in the bathroom where she begged God to spare his life. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And so I wanted to educate you guys on some of PTSD friends, these disorders that coexist with PTSD. I brought another therapist to the microphone to do that Dr. Patrice berry got behind the microphone to help us with this understanding. We talk a lot about safety and the importance of addressing these co occurring disorders. And she even describes some

them. Let’s listen to this clip with Dr. Patrice Berry 

 co occurring mental disorders 

Dr. Patrice Berry  15:07  
the same way for everybody. And so that’s where somebody would talk with their practitioner about how it maybe came about. Because really, it’s how were you functioning before? And then how are you functioning now, and sometimes some of the things that people pick up, it helped them survive that event. And now that they are safe, the problem is that we’re still doing a lot of those behaviors, even though we’re safe now.

Amy Watson  15:36  
So I thought that was really, really interesting from Dr. Berry talking about safety, again, that the lifespan of post traumatic stress, I wanted to continue to highlight healing. And so I brought Lindsay Tozer back to the microphone, since she shared her Her cause of accidental death and injury experience for the first time publicly earlier in the season. I wanted to know how she was doing now, this was months after the fact. And here is what she has to say to you guys. They who no matter what is always going to be there for you. If you’re not comfortable with how that feels. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, I am sorry.

But you are loved, and cared for and cherished. And, and you will always be and that that feeling is something that will always be with you for the rest of your life, no matter how hard you try and push it down. So not only is Lindsay talking about just working through things, but she is talking about the tremendous overwhelming love of God. After Lindsay’s update, I wanted to check in with Crissy she opened the season by telling us how having her drink drugged and escaping date rape shattered all she knew to be true. So I wanted to check on her. Could she accept the complex truth that God is both good, and also allows suffering? 

Crissy Loughridge  16:59  
He’s good. And what do I do with that?

The quote is, can I accept the more complex truth?

And the complex truth is, oh, we need to give credit to that. That is Becky Wade, let it be me. And it is just really powerful that that give us that quote again. could love it the character? Could he accept a more complex truth? Wow, that God is both good. And it goes on.

Amy Watson  17:31  
Yeah, so chew on that one for a second guys. Next up, I wanted to provide a resource for parents who are raising children with PTSD for this abroad Troy McLaughlin to the mic, He is a fellow podcaster he was brutally honest and offers practical advice. For those who are parenting children with trauma, he offers great wisdom and encouragement, let’s listen to what he has to say. 

Troy McLaughlin  17:54  
Remember, that this may take a very long time, this may be a road, you may see glimpses of good, and then it goes back to the other way. Hang in there.

Get make sure the here’s the other thing. I don’t think we often do this.

When we’re walking through these things, or we’re talking to others about it. Everybody needs a therapist. For now. Now it may not be quote unquote professional therapy, but but it’s a community belonging.

And we need to bounce these things off because oftentimes, like they said, this thing is going on in their head, that may not be true. 

Amy Watson  18:36  
So you notice that Troy there hits two of the CS community and counseling. And I think if you were to listen to the whole episode, as you should scroll down and your app and you will see parenting PTSD, bad trauma, golf, and he will also talk about church. It had been on my heart to cover the loss of a child on the podcast. So I invited Randy Mortensen to the mind to tell us his story, and how he is turning to his pain of losing his child into tremendous purpose. Randy took a difficult road to healing. He tells us about his faith journey, his feeling of hopelessness, his episode highlights crazy hope. But as it wasn’t always that way for him. Let’s listen to what he says here.

Randy Mortensen  19:19  
I thought I had faith but I didn’t know what I didn’t know from a faith standpoint. Sure, basically, and we can talk about that a little bit more in depth later. But it was it was just the utter hopelessness of how is my life going to have meaning going forward? Even that’s how dark it was. So that was that was an incredibly rich episode. And I strongly encourage you to go back and listen because we are not wired to lose our children and what a powerful story that Randy has. Next up by this time in the process, I had gotten plenty of shade for lack of a better word.

Amy Watson  20:00  
Some listeners on my mission here. These are names that claimant messages throw, you’ve got a problem. I’ve got a Bible verse thrown at me, and not very much, but it did spur me to record a solo episode about weaponizing. The gospel. I shared with listeners how that affected me over the years and how the misunderstanding of one single Bible verse and the MIS teaching of one single Bible verse did more harm than good. Let’s take a listen.

Just ruled me. And I didn’t even understand that it was doing that. I have paid for this thought process in spades over the years, I kept putting my hand to that plow and not looking back not getting help. And so I couldn’t anymore. And that Fallout is well documented on this podcast, season one hospitals and courtrooms.

So in that same spirit, I also wanted to discuss spiritual abuse. I brought to the mic Tiffany countryman. For this episode, I picked the millennial for this episode because I wanted to highlight the stories like Tiffany’s are still happening and 2021, both weaponizing the gospel and the mistreatment of people pushes people away from the start of the story. I asked her some some hard, hard questions, her answers were hard to hear, listen to this, anybody in that church, come into your place, regardless of whether you feel like you were wrong or not by getting pregnant, you were hurting. You were poor. You’re being maligned at this point. But not only your by your baby daddy, but by people who listen to him, did a single soul sit you down and say, Hey, I love you. Let’s let us walk you through this. What can we do that a single soul do that? 

Tiffany Countryman  21:45  
Not one person, Amy, not one person in a church. 

Amy Watson  21:49  
Whoa, even hearing that, again, just makes me sad. 

By this point in the year I became relatively introspective. And so the next episode chronicled a time when I can pinpoint where healing occurred. And it started by raising my stone of help. This episode was a moment for me and I wanted to share it with listeners listen to this clip, right cross and reminded me of the wooden cross where they killed my Jesus. He gave his life for me, so that I could have victories like I was having at that moment. On my way back, I realized I never picked up my Ebenezer after I took the picture. I fully expected the ocean to have a devoured it. And that would have kind of been perfect. Actually, a new song shuffled on my phone, this time, another lyric force more water from my eyes. So as I continued, I had this realization that at that moment, I was going down in flames by this point and the year. Part of that was a result of my all out Watson style of going into something and going into it hard as I have done with this podcast and everything that surrounds it. I got behind my microphone, in a microphone, actually, that would have me anybody that would offer a guest spot I would be on it. I wrote about all of my trauma and attempt to finish my book. I mentioned I mentored whoever DM to me, I helped clubhouse rooms that were heavy and, and triggering. And then I almost heard God say enough. If I never use any of your story, would you be okay with that. And so I recorded an episode called, these are my stories. These are my songs full on with music and my entire testimony. I told my full story publicly for the last time, at least for a while, it was time for me to remember that I mattered to I shared a little bit about how just at 19 years old, having to make a decision that I hope some of you never have to make, take a listen. She was in a coma. And I was in shock. But something deep inside of me, needed to be in that room with her. So I stayed all night with stories of how she failed to protect me and never chose me. I guess there was a part of me that wish that she would wake up and explain it all to me. But she didn’t. She was never going to wake up. And two months later, we sign those papers.

After publishing that episode, I realized I needed some more help. I needed some more support. Some in the Christian world have troubles with the Enneagram. And that’s okay, I respect that. My goal and starting that work in this series was to understand how God made me and doing that I began to simply pay attention to my own trauma and in my own body and paying attention I realized a lot about myself. My childhood trauma and the wounding messages that I received was still rolling me. I have said over and over again that knowledge is power and therefore I decided to spend time connecting, how we are made and what drives us by ways of our money.

motivations and our fears. Let’s listen into this clip as I introduce my experience with the Enneagram. more to learn, and my journey with PTSD. Today, I will share my experience with my Enneagram coach, including the jaw dropping moment that my trauma made sense. So after that episode, as I was just mentioning, I was honored that Karissa Harrison joined me as we held an in depth conversation about a gospel centered approach to the Enneagram, and how it can help us process trauma Karissa helps us understand why we think, feel and behave the way we do. What are our core motivations? What are our core fears? Let’s listen to this clip. 

Karissa Harrison  25:48  
The Enneagram is a Greek word that just stands for nine, the number nine and dry. And it really is at its simplest, a personality framework that helps us understand why we think and feel and behave the way that we do. And so the Enneagram is distinguished, the nine types are distinguished not by how we behave, not by our personality patterns, but by our internal motivations. What are the core motivations that are actually driving the way that we think and feel and behave? And this is what sets the Enneagram apart from disk or strengths finders or Myers Briggs and in my opinion, it’s what makes it that much more powerful. Because we’re not just treating the stuff on the surface, we’re getting to the root of what’s causing the stuff to happen. So after my own positive experience, as I continue to experience

Amy Watson  26:48  
my understanding of how God made through the framework of the Enneagram, and why and how I process trauma, I wanted to provide interviews with each Enneagram type and pair it with trauma and loss. So first up was our Enneagram type one author, Becky Wade, Becky had just experienced a loss. And so we wanted to know how she processed that within the framework of how God made her. And so we asked her that question, but I love, love, love what she says here, let’s listen to part of her clip.

Becky Wade  27:19  
I think what I’ve learned for myself in my own life is that I am most joyful, and most at peace.

closest to the heart of God when I am not viewing myself based on my performance, 

Amy Watson  27:34  
when she is not viewing herself based on her performance that was so powerful as is that interview. Next up I decided to represent the type twos, the helpers, you know, most would agree that I am pretty vulnerable that on this day I gave my microphone to Crissy to interview me. Earlier that day, I had experience for my first and only way too close to home COVID loss. You can hear it in my voice in this clip. This was by far the most vulnerable. I have been on the podcast, what happens when our core fears are actually realized.

I think that having realized that core fear at such a young age, being unwanted and unloved and being abandoned and harmed by those that brought me into this role. My mom, I’ve never up until about 10 years ago never knew anything different than that. It hurts a lot to know that, that my flesh and blood didn’t want me and then fast forward into my 20s my husband didn’t want me.

Katie Ganshert  28:38  
Up next I asked Katie Ganshert author Katie Gansert to represent type three the achievers Katie’s episode is a rich conversation culminating in a deep seated need and an understanding of what type threes need. Let’s listen in. I think it’s so much so much for me is about wanting to bring value into a situation or a relationship because I feel like that’s how I’m seeing.

Amy Watson  29:07  
So she understands that her value is just in being seen not again by performance is such a such a good episode. Next is a millennial who also has trauma to represent type fours. Rachel Odom brings so much value to the podcast proving to us that type fours are always enough and never too much, especially in the presence of trauma that this young lady brought it to the mic. Let’s listen to just a clip of her episode. When I think of it in that way, the terms defective and adequate emotionally fit off and the belief that there’s something inherently wrong with me. I can see how that would influence the way that I live and the way I relate to people. That’s that’s an amazing episode. You guys are not gonna want to miss that. So again to scroll down in your app. Next up was an

Another millennial Sophia Walsh, who is a thyroid cancer survivor, she represented our tight fives. This episode is full of information on how Sophia process her trauma within the framework of how God made her. And she was, as she tells us that she wishes, how she understood more about how God made her at the onset of her trauma. She helps us understand how we can do life with fives, especially when those fives have experienced trauma. Let’s listen to this clip.

Sophia Walsh  30:32  
I talked for so long about this. Um, I think this I’m gonna use the spoon analogy too, because it’s just so good. Even though I, this is gonna sound selfish to an extent, but hear me out. Okay? Even though I have all 10 of my spoons, sometimes 10 are not enough for a day for me.

Amy Watson  30:53  
So again, another good interview with our Enneagram type five and so we ended the year with Sophia Walsh. And the very first drop of 2022 will be our Enneagram type six and that will be Crissy Loughridge Now we’re gonna step out of order here a little bit, but it is important. October is both Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as well as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And so one Wednesday in October, we did a double drop. First up is Audrey Mabry, who brings fire to this episode. And she shares the story of redemption, beauty from literal ashes, because of an offense that gave her husband a life sentence and prison. She tells us if you want to look at the fruit, look at the roots. Audrey story has been covered on national platforms, and we were honored to have such hope and help. As she shared on this podcast. She talks about advocating differently and how we can continue to change the narrative. But listen to this clip that that we played before. The interview with Audrey was the type of man that constantly accused me of cheating on him. He was a controlling man. He was a jealous me, but he never hit me.

So you’re gonna want to go listen to that story. Trust me on that one. Following that episode, I had the honor of interviewing breast cancer survivor and one of my college buddies Tammy Williamson. Tammy brings tears hope and emphasizes our mission. Here she tells us the power of community and how it helped her in her in her journey with breast cancer, trauma and alleviates fears and so let’s listen to this clip from her. She told me that she thought the machine was broken. Or perhaps the technician was brand new, and just kind of learning her way. It was just after her 40th birthday. And the mom of six probably found the day spent at the doctor as a huge inconvenience annoyance. Her children ranging from ages 10 to 17 are no doubt at home, wondering where Mama was and what was for dinner.

Again, an episode that you’re going to want to go back and listen to and that is true of all the ones that I’ve shared with you here today and our 2021 recap. Finally though, we published our 50th episode, which happened to be also on my 50th birthday. For this episode, I asked five people from my five generations to come celebrate with me. This episode highlights everything I believe in the power of community and the presence of trauma, the importance of Church and the necessity of counseling. Crissy ends that podcast and one of the most powerful ways I’ve ever I’ve ever heard on any podcast anywhere. And so let’s listen to how she ended my Happy Birthday episode. 

Crissy Loughridge  33:48  
And for those out there thinking, I’m too broken.

He is more. His mercy is more His grace is more His love is more as healing as more his joy is more than the greatest sorrow. His justice is more he is more. And so again, if you can download the song, it’s kind of a fun thing to change the lyrics out whatever it is, our sins, they are many His mercy is more our hurts, they are many his love. It is more our pain. It is great. His His love is more. He’s just more and there’s never there’s never a day that goes by that I don’t recognize what we’ve been through in the past 1415 years easily.

Amy Watson  34:47  
So that was Chrissy’s admonishment to us and she was what she was saying at the end of that clip is over the last 14 or 15 years and some of the stuff that we’ve walked easily at any point we could just say time

out, uncle, we’re done. But she talks about more how his mercy is more how his grace is more how his comfort is more. So I hope that you will receive that. Well guys, here we are December the 21st 2021 is when I’m recording this. And I just love to wish all of my peeps a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year, I speak over you the promises of the star of the story that promises of Jesus. And remember, like Chrissy said, he is more, I do hope that you enjoyed this 2021 recap, and maybe heard an episode that can help you or somebody you love. We will be back in two weeks, as I mentioned picking up on the Enneagram six, it has been my honor to create this content for you over the last 20 or so months. As I always say I will never ever, ever stop fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves. As I mentioned, this has turned into a listener slash donor supported podcast, you will find the link to the Facebook fundraiser fundraiser that runs through December 31 2021. In the show notes, as well as that contact Amy which has our patreon link, it gives you the opportunity to either a one time gift or an ongoing gift that would help us and our goal here to continue to produce content, as well as provide pro bono counseling for those who can’t afford it. And all the things that we need to do to get the message of hope and help out to the people. So until next time, when I’m here with you and two weeks in the healing zone, it’d be 2022 Y’all, you’re still going to be seen and known and heard and loved and valued. Because guess what? You’re never been more loved than you are.

Unknown Speaker  36:39  
You

Transcribed by https://otter.ai