LIVING WITHOUT FEAR

Courage Not FearThere is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 1 John 4:18

 

When people experience actual or perceived threat of severe harm, their brain chemistry changes. Even in the absence of physical injury, trauma can disrupt memory and mimic real brain damage. Memories of trauma can be kept hidden from one’s consciousness, due to shame or fear; the memory is too much to handle. Or sometimes intrusive images or unpleasant thoughts cause profound anxiety, even if the thoughts are not about the specific trauma. Emotions surrounding the trauma are often experienced more powerfully than everyday feelings. Unresolved trauma memories may lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can include irritability, nightmares, emotional detachment, and heightened startle response. Life after trauma delivers very real symptoms that can last a lifetime if not treated.

 

In the counseling work that I have done with trauma survivors, including war veterans and refugees, and those who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence, there is never a perfect path to recovery. As a sexual assault survivor myself, my faith in God has been an integral part of my healing. It saddens me when I see others fearful and distrusting of a God Who they feel has abandoned them in their worst hour. While we must meet survivors at the point at which they come to us, and we must allow them each to work through their experiences in their own way, one passage of the Bible appears to have universal appeal to many who have experienced trauma.

 

1 John speaks about love, fear, punishment and perfection: important concepts in working through trauma. Love and fear, he says, are incompatible; we cannot truly experience both at the same time. Love produces boldness, giving us courage to dispel fear. Courage scatters fear, and signals all that frightens us that new ground has been broken. The audacity of moving forward from fear builds more courage and invites more trust and more love. It is the profound and sacred purpose of the church to respond to those who have been traumatized with the love that we know to be from Christ. No other force will ever be stronger than Christ’s love.

 

Lord of Courage and Justice, fill us with Your exquisite, fear-dispelling love today! Amen

 

In the United States, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual harassment, abuse, and assault and educate communities on how to prevent it. In April 2020, the I Ask campaign will enter its second year, as we continue to explore the importance of consent in healthy relationships and empower everyone to put it into practice. Please see this weblink for more information:

https://www.nsvrc.org/saam

CRY ME A RIVER

Tears_Macro_Female_face-1200x628-FacebookYou keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8 NLT

 

According to Wikipedia, “Tears are a clear liquid secreted by the lacrimal glands (tear gland) found in the eyes of all land mammals (except for goats and rabbits). Their functions include lubricating the eyes (basal tears), removing irritants (reflex tears), and aiding the immune system.” The American Academy of Pediatrics says that babies “cry” a lot, but they don’t produce tears until they are seven or eight months old. Women cry on average almost twice as often as men, but this may be due to societal acceptance of women who shed tears over men. In fact, the Latin name for “cry baby,” or someone who tears up frequently, is lachrimist, and can refer to either gender.

 

Crying can be good for you, because it releases oxytocin and endorphins, chemicals that make us feel better. I am not typically a crier, but when I get started, it’s hard to stop. And the littlest things can choke me up, like a Hallmark card commercial, or a sweet animal video, or just some random kid in the neighborhood doing something caring for another kid or (better yet) an adult.

 

Christians have often called this earthly life a “valley of tears.” Even though we believe in a gracious and loving God, and we place our hope in His ability to lift us up from the woes of this present life, we also grieve and feel sorrow and hurt throughout our worldly journey. And although we may often feel like our pain is of no consequence to those around us, not one twinge of discomfort escapes God’s watchful eye. Psalm 121:4 says God “neither sleeps nor slumbers,” but He keeps watch over us at all times. The image in Psalm 56:8 of God caring enough to collect each of sorrow-(and joy-)filled tears in a bottle is of great comfort to me. It reminds me that, though my weeping may not seem productive to me, God values those experiences as much as he does my greatest earthly successes. So go ahead, cry a river! God will still love you!

 

God of Tender Mercies, You treasure my tears enough to preserve them in a heavenly bottle. I am humbled and grateful for Your love and concern. Amen

 

Alone on a Colorado mountain, Meg Corrigan faced the unthinkable, a situation that almost ended her life. Hear the details of her astounding rescue from the hands of a gun-wielding attacker and how she walked off that mountain. Hers is a story of tragedy turned holy, a journey of sorrow and healing, a powerful message of hope in the darkest hour. In her memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, Meg credits her resilience to the grace of God. She is also the author of Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, tales based on her years as a drummer in a Hawaiian show band; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, released this month. Meg is a retired college counselor, author, speaker, trainer and sexual assault survivor. She speaks to churches, civic groups, college students, mental health professionals and law enforcement personnel, as well as youth in juvenile facilities. Corrigan lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota with her husband, Patrick and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. She loves to coax seemingly dead plants out of the soil in her yard. The couple have four daughters, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net or www.MegCorrigan.com .

GRAMBULANCE

ambulance “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

 

Do you have (or had) a grandmother or grandfather to whom you turned for comfort in tough times? I never knew any of my grandparents. But I know many folks who remember at least one grandma or grandpa always being there to listen, to give hugs, to spend undistracted time with them when they were young. In our modern society, grandparents may move to senior housing rather than live with relatives. Families live far and wide today, making daily contact with older relatives impossible. But if you were or are one of the lucky ones, to have frequent contact with elder family members who care about you, you are blessed with a wealth of wisdom and problem-solving ability developed over many years. Although your parents care about you too, they are often caught up in keeping you safe and out of trouble—plus they are usually busy with work or other life activities. Your grandparents can, in many ways, provide you with some of the most honest and accurate information about life that you are able to get—and they love doing that!

 

As a grandmother and a great-grandmother myself, I’ve tried to be that special resource person to my grandkids. In fact, I even coined a word to describe what an active grandparent can be. Grambulance, a combination of the words “gramma” or “grampa” and “ambulance,” describes the special relationships young people have with their older family members. Like an ambulance, a grandparent is often available as soon as you need them. You can call or text them and they can often answer right away. They are filled with “equipment” to help you survive a broken heart or a bad grade or even your parents’ arguments or separation or divorce. Grandparents have seen and heard and done a lot in their lives, and they’ve learned how to handle tough situations. They also shepherded your own parents through some of the same crises you are now encountering; and experience is an excellent teacher. “Grambulances” may not have lights and sirens, but they are a rolling source of emergency measures to help you whenever you need them.

 

Lord, help us to see the wisdom in our older relatives! They love us as You do and are there to help us! Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

SPILLING THE BEANS

Embarrassed-womanWise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the Child who has been born King of the Jews?”…(Herod) sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the Child; and when you have found Him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay Him homage.” Matthew 2:1-2, 8

 

Have you ever inadvertently said or done something that you should not have? As a young adult, it seemed I frequently found myself talking to someone I felt I could trust, only to hear later that what I said had been repeated to my embarrassment. I learned from those experiences to be more careful with sharing what was on my mind! I’ve also committed some of those egregious faux pas like asking a woman with a large belly when her baby is due, only to find out that was not the reason for her sizeable tummy! And I once stubbornly tried get into a car that looked like mine, turning to see a woman giving me an icy stare while holding her cell phone aloft as if to call the police. These little embarrassments may cause us momentary horror, but we can usually recover from them with time and gentle self-talk.

 

Epiphany brings the arrival of the Wise Men. Did these Eastern Kings who came to find the baby Jesus have any clue that King Herod was less than thrilled at their report about the newborn “king of the Jews?” They didn’t realize that their innocent question about how to find the Child Whose star they had followed was about to set off an international incident with fatal repercussions for all the children under two in the area (Matthew 2:16-18). I’m certain these Wise Men meant no harm; they were mesmerized by the Christ Star and what ancient texts had foretold about Him (v. 6). Herod was a cunning and cruel king and he took advantage of the men from the East. He wanted this new Baby out of his life and his kingdom. But God would prevail: Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, and the Wise Men were also warned to leave the area without letting Herod know where the Child was (vs. 12-15).

 

Sovereign Lord, we thank You that Your plans are perfect and evil humans cannot change their course. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

OVERWHELMING DEBT

Woman managing the debtLet no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

 

In today’s world of uncertain medical coverage and greedy health providers, an entire family’s resources can be threatened or wiped out by one catastrophic illness. Just ask the 472 families across Arkansas and Texas who recently found out that their medical bills of hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars were being paid off by a church in a state a thousand miles from them. A Lord of Life Church member in Brooklyn Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, told his pastor about “RIP Medical Debt,” a non-profit led by two former debt collectors familiar with the health industry. RIP buys debt from hospitals and providers with funds donated from celebrities, churches, and other organizations. The debt is bought up for pennies on the dollar, so even modest donations can eliminate a huge debt for those who have no other way to pay their medical bills. Lord of Life Church raised $15,000 in the fall of 2019, enough to pay off $1.6 million in medical debt! So why didn’t they use the money in their (my) home state of Minnesota? Well, state protections in Minnesota limit the purchase of debt. Undaunted, Lord of Life decided it would still use the money to help people in some of the poorer parts of our nation; hence, the gifts went towards medical bills for families in two southern states. (The church has plans to raise more money to help locals with medical debt.)

 

In Romans 13:8, the Apostle Paul speaks of our compelling responsibility to love others, thereby fulfilling the second part of Christ’s Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40: Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ‘This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”). How can mere mortals love with that much surety and abandon? By never doubting the power of God to direct our efforts to the right person in the right place at the right time!

 

Giver of All Good Gifts, open our hands and hearts and help us to love with surety and abandon. Amen

 

For more information about the RIP Medical Debt program, or to make a donation, go to: https://ripmedicaldebt.org/

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger, to the delight of all who read her work and hear her speak. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

RESTING GRINCH FACE

grinch1.0A cheerful heart is a good medicine,  but a downcast spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

 

We’ve all met them. They seem to be everywhere during the Christmas season. Some people just can’t get into the mood for Christ’s birth, no matter what anyone says to them. If you wish them a Merry Christmas, they scowl at you or just turn and walk away. They suck the energy right out of the office Christmas party, and they haunt family gatherings. They won’t tell us what’s bothering them, or what has set them off. They aren’t happy about it being Christmas and they are going to try hard to make the rest of us unhappy too.

 

What do we do about people who spend the entire Advent season wearing a “resting Grinch face?” We can try to console them, engage them in a positive conversation about something, anything! Maybe they have bad memories of Christmas past. I know a woman whose parents were divorced whose only childhood memories of Christmas were about being shuffled from one parent’s home to the other, with little time to enjoy or appreciate either side of the family. Others may associate Christ’s birth with their own feelings of inadequacy or shame or guilt. Grieving for the loss of a loved one, a job, one’s health, or a relationship can add to the holiday blues. Some folks are genuinely turned off by the commercialization of this sacred occasion (count me among them!). And still more people dread being alone on Christmas because there isn’t a single person with whom they can plan to spend the holiday.

 

The “resting Grinch faces” of the world need our understanding and compassion, not our judgement. Holiday blues are different from mental illness, but short-term mental health problems can lead to clinical anxiety and depression. One of the best ways to help people who are unhappy during the Holidays is to include them in our lives and our activities. We may need to remain vigilant and be patient. The season is short, but Christ came not to condemn us but to offer us peace and healing. He would want us to keep that uppermost in our minds.

 

Child of Wonder, You came to us when the world was hurting, just as it is now. Help us spread the light of Your love now and all year long. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

CARETAKERS

Mature Vietnamese couple at homeReligion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27

 

They are among us. They may be us. They may take care of us. Selfless people who assume responsibility for the care and well being of another, related or not. The young wife and mother who never leaves her husband’s side as he loses his battle with brain cancer. The pastor’s wife, a retired nurse, who provides all daily cares for her husband with dementia for years until finally, they find a place in an assisted living facility they can afford. The high school music teacher whose Guatamalan student must leave the country when his father is deported, but the teacher surprises him with a plane ticket back to sing in the spring music concert. The mother who cares for her son after he suffers profound brain and spinal cord injuries in a motor vehicle accident that kills his brother, until she and her husband raise the funding to build a special home for young adults with acute health issues.

 

These are the quiet legions of people who set aside their own lives, ambitions, dreams and hopes and adjust to a “new normal,” doing the unthinkable for others who are unable to do what needs to be done for themselves. They come from all ethic, religious, cultural and economic backgrounds, turning their faces to the howling winds of pain and discomfort that others endure. They make life easier for others, often while sacrificing sleep, paychecks, nutrition, good health, and companionship themselves, to meet the needs of others. They are shining stars in service to humanity, surely worthy of those stars in their heavenly crowns.

 

This is what Jesus meant when He said to the curious scribe, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34). Jesus also told the scribe that the second most important commandment, after love of the one true God, is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). To care for someone else at our own expense is one of the most noble acts anyone can perform. If you see one—if you are one—if you have one, you are blessed.

 

Jesus, bless and sustain all caregivers, paid or unpaid, and help them know they are valued in Your eyes. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

EMPATHS

Father comforts a sad child. Problems in the familyContinue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3

 

The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a novel about a successful cattle rancher who suddenly “wakes up” to the animals on his ranch. This seemingly seasoned rancher discovers he feels the pain of the animals he raises and sells, rendering him no longer able to conduct “business as usual” on his ranch. His relationship with a young mother and her troubled teenaged son provides more opportunities for the rancher to experience his profound empathy towards both animals and people, completely changing his approach to life and the animals and people he cares about.

 

While reading The Wake Up, I had an epiphany of my own. With over thirty years as a professional counselor, I have always been a “soft heart,” caring a great deal for the students and clients I have worked with. And as an adult child of an alcoholic mother, I have often accepted the role of caretaker in personal relationships, even when that may not be my healthiest role. This book made me realize how much emotion I often invest in concern about people I don’t even know and may never meet. When I see the news about natural disasters, I am often moved to tears with compassion over how much the people and animals are suffering. It nearly does me in to see images of victims of mass shootings, racial hatred, child abuse—and the list goes on and on.

 

It is not lost on my that Jesus was—and is—an empath too. He labored in prayer for His disciples and all of His followers, and even included those persecuting Him and ultimately executing Him in His petitions for forgiveness. The disciples and the Apostle Paul emulated Christ’s compassion; Paul’s letters are mostly passionate pleas for peace and wellbeing for those whose paths he had crossed. It comforts me to know that Jesus bears my burdens too, including the weight of my concern for those whose lives are filled with trouble. I’m not sure I could live in this broken, sorrow-filled world without the grace and love of my Savior to see me through.

 

Jesus, You said there would be trouble in this world, but thank You for overcoming the world! Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

OPTIMIST AT THE APOCALYPSE

Optimist at the Apocalypse“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down….” Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to be fulfilled?” Mark 13:2-4

 

I recently read an article describing a prominent female political figure as “an optimist at the Apocalypse.” I did not agree with that assessment, and no, I won’t name the political figure or the writer! But I began to think what that would mean to stand watching this world spin out of control and out of existence and be optimistic about that event. Webster defines “optimist” as “a person who is inclined to be hopeful and to expect good outcomes.” And the Apocalypse is described as “the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom.” So observing this “cosmic cataclysm” with mirth and glee might not be everyone’s picture of the “end times.” Hollywood has made many people very rich producing disaster movies that bring viewers to the edges of their theater seats if not their sanity. It is downright scary to consider being a witness to the earth’s demise!

 

The Gospel of Mark recounts Jesus telling the disciples a bit about what the end times will be like. He speaks of false prophets, deception, “wars and rumors of wars,” earthquakes, and famines (Mark 13:6-8). But still the timing of the end will not be clear to us. Many cling to the promise that “the gospel must first be preached to all nations” (v. 10) before the end will come. But we are not to concern ourselves with what we must say if asked to tell why we believe in God’s merciful love, kindness and justice. Jesus says, “Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit” (v. 14).

 

Why is it whenever the disciples—like us—are freaking out about life, Christ just raising His holy hand and says, “Fear not?” Well, if there ever was an “optimist at the Apocalypse,” friends and neighbors, that would be Jesus Himself.

 

Lord, You say “Fear not.” Teach us to trust You today and always. Amen

 

Alone on a Colorado mountain, Meg Corrigan faced the unthinkable, a situation that almost ended her life. Learn the details of her astounding rescue from the hands of a gun-wielding attacker and how she walked off that mountain. Hers is a story of tragedy turned holy, a journey of sorrow and healing, a powerful message of hope in the darkest hour. In her memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, Meg credits her resilience to the grace of God. She is also the author of Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, tales based on her years as a drummer in a Hawaiian show band; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, released this month. Meg is a retired college counselor, author, speaker, trainer and sexual assault survivor. She speaks to churches, civic groups, college students, mental health professionals and law enforcement personnel, as well as youth in juvenile facilities. She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota with her husband, Patrick. She loves to coax seemingly dead plants out of the soil in her yard. The couple have four daughters, ten grandchildren and a great-grandchild on the way. Contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net or www.MegCorrigan.com .

CRUISE CONTROL

Cruise Control“Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” Luke 8:45

 

There was a frozen fog the morning I picked Agnes up at the farm. Her only child, Edgar, stood peering at me from the barn. I went in the house and helped Agnes pack her one small suitcase, but I didn’t see Edgar sneak in behind me. We turned to leave, his mother hugged him. He looked straight at me and said, “Take care of her.” “I will,’ I said. After forty-six years of marriage, Agnes, a sixty-five year-old farm wife of an alcoholic and violently abusive man, was going to a women’s shelter seventy miles away. The public health nurse had told me the family were “backward.” Edgar did two years in the Army but came right home to help his mother. Seventy milk cows and thirty stanchions meant lots of bellering in the cow yard. His father Alfred could not be counted on. The corn stood unharvested. I didn’t know which was greener: the young county social worker picking Agnes up or the withering stocks in the field.

 

Oddly, we passed Alfred on the gravel road as he was returning to the farm, driving the tractor because he had lost his license for driving drunk. Agnes didn’t even duck, and Alfred wouldn’t know my vehicle anyway. I hit the highway and set the cruise. Agnes stared wide-eyed. “The car drives herself?” she asked. “How can thaThe shelter staff saw Agnes to her tiny room and explained the daily schedule. We all feared she would not fit in with the younger women and their small children at the shelter. But Agnes surprised us. She became the “house mother” to all those new moms; their children flocked to their new “grandma.” Agnes had been courageous to leave her abusive husband. She had turned off the “cruise control” of her daily life of sorrow and found a place where she was useful and cared for. Just as the woman who touched the robe of Christ found there was hope for healing and new life, Agnes found a way to begin again.

 

Lord of Justice, the hands of those suffering domestic violence are reaching out for help. Show them ways to break the chains that bind them and lead then to better lives. Amen

 

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you or someone you know suffers at the hands of an abuser, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-7997233. Is this abuse? Follow this link: https://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/