How Do I Feel About Myself?
“I am deeply lonely… I feel empty inside.” “I can’t be alone.” “I’m passive, drifting; I can’t even make ‘simple’ decisions.” “I’m angry.” “I’m hard-hearted and detached.” “My life is driven by a deep sense of shame.” “I’m struggling in my relationship with God.” “I desire to experience the peace that is supposed to pass all understanding.” “I would like to learn to seek others out rather than choose to isolate.” I would like to learn to relate to God as a loving Father.” “I would like to live out of the truth of who God says I am, rather than what I may believe about myself.” “What does it really mean to ‘love others as I love myself?’”
How Are My Relationships with Others?
“I fear relating honestly to others.” “I’m co-dependent… I live my life through others.” “I refuse to connect emotionally with others.” “I just can’t keep appropriate boundaries.” “I find it hard to be known and live behind a mask.” “I’m the victim of abusive relationships.” “I feel anger or hatred towards women or men.” “I have a fear of commitment.” “I want to connect with others from a place of relational health.” “I want to learn to say, ‘No.’” “Authenticity is a deep desire of mine, but it seems beyond my reach.” “I would like to learn to initiate relationships with others from a place a strength, rather than weakness.” “I want to find relational wholeness in my relationship with God so that I have something to offer others.”
How Are My Sexual Relationships?
“I act promiscuously.” “I use pornography.” “I can’t keep my own sexual boundaries with others.” “I’m a victim of abusive relationships.” “I read erotic literature and novels.” “I use or engage in prostitution.” “I have self-identified, unwanted, same sex attraction (unwanted homosexual or lesbian feelings).” “I’m married to or in a relationship with someone dealing with these sexual issues.” “I long to experience sexual intimacy as God intended.” “How can I learn to love again after having trust broken?” “I want to forgive my loved one.”
To become a voice of hope and a place of restoration for those in sexual and relational conflict throughout every community within Central Pennsylvania.
- We are a nonprofit counseling organization that provides Christ-centered education and support to individuals and families who struggle with or are impacted by sexual brokenness.
- We are an interdenominational ministry which offers counseling and support services to those overcoming sexual conflicts such as sexual compulsivity, sexual addiction, sexual abuse, and sexual identity issues, such as homosexuality.
- We strive to be a help to those who struggle with sexual conflicts, to help them to manage their sexuality to the glory of God through abstinence or through developing the ability to enter into and maintain an intimate, lifelong, monogamous, heterosexual marriage.
- We help participants grow in their ability to be relationally appropriate with members of the same, as well as the opposite, sex.
- We believe our purpose is to be a model of the practical experience of the grace of God to and within the Christian community.
To bring hope and restoration to individuals and families walking through sexual and relational conflicts by providing Christ-centered counseling, education, and support.
Support Day Seven Ministries
Day Seven Ministries is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that is supported by individuals, churches, and businesses throughout the area.
“There remains then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also rest from their own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” — Hebrews 4:9-11 (TNIV)
When Enos Daniel Martin, M.D., founded Day Seven Ministries over 20 years ago, he was looking for a name that communicated the need to “rest from our fruitless efforts to save ourselves” from the sins with which we struggle. The name Day Seven reflects the example of our Savior who rested on the seventh day of Creation. And, that is what we have been attempting to do for the past 20 years – help people find rest from their sexual and relational struggles.
Day Seven Ministries started when Dr. Martin was approached by Earl Miller, the leader of a self-help group in Allentown. Miller was looking for a location to hold a group in Lancaster. He was concerned for the people in the area who struggled with sexual issues but had no option but to drive to Allentown or Baltimore. Dr. Martin says, “I processed this with the ministers of my district, the Elizabethtown District. We decided to go beyond his request and establish an interdenominational Board to give direction to the ministry. This we subsequently did. We employed Earl as our first director.”
Originally located in Elizabethtown, PA, Day Seven Ministries now has its main office in Lancaster and branch offices in Camp Hill and Harrisburg with plans to open an additional branch in the Morgantown/Reading area in the near future. Recovery groups also operate throughout South-Central PA.
Bill began his current position as Executive Director with Day Seven Ministries in August of 2013. Before serving with us, Bill spent 22 years in pastoral ministry in California, Kentucky and New York. He graduated from Houghton College followed by Asbury Theological Seminary and later earned his spiritual direction credential from the Epiphany Institute in Pittsburgh. His current responsibilities at Day Seven include building relationships with pastors and community agencies, providing seminars for churches and community groups, and leadership and administrative responsibilities. He has a passion for helping others live up to their full calling and potential and loves to see people’s inner inspiration become real and concrete. Bill and his wife, Maria, have four children.
Dan is the Director of Counseling and Education. Prior to this Dan has served as Executive Director and previous to that Community Relations Director. Before serving with Day Seven Ministries, Dan spent 12 years in pastoral ministry with over eight of those years in ministry to youth and their families.Dan first became involved with Day Seven Ministries as a recovery group leader and completed his practicum and internship toward the completion of a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Counseling at Lancaster Bible College’s Graduate School. In addition to his studies at LBC, Dan completed classes towards a Masters of Divinity Degree at Asbury Theological Seminary. Dan and his wife, Heather, have three children, live in York Haven and attend Wyndamere Heights Evangelical Congregational Church.
Zach grew up about an hour from Lancaster and like many others his age, was unsure what direction to go after high school. Although he didn’t have a strong pull to a particular field of study, he felt that Lancaster Bible college was a good fit to continue his education.Through various experiences and opportunities, he felt that the counseling field was where he needed to be and serve. Zach interned with Day Seven for three years and finished graduate school in 2012, when he officially came on staff as a counselor. His passion for helping and hearing others has led him to enjoy what he does, in speaking truth and showing grace through individual counseling and recovery groups.
Michael began his second stint serving Day Seven Ministries as a counselor in January, 2012. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education from the University of Arkansas and a Master’s of Science in Clinical Psychology from Millersville University. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, the American Counseling Association, and the Pennsylvania Psychology Association. He, his wife, and their two sons attend Cross Roads Brethren in Christ Church in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. He enjoys reading, playing basketball with his sons and hiking the Rocky Mountains. He is passionate about helping people to resolve painful pasts, relational difficulties, emotional dysfunction, and addictive ruts.
Darren joined Day Seven Ministries in September 2004, after graduating from Lancaster Bible College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian Life Ministry and a minor in counseling. Darren has completed his master’s degree in mental health counseling with Regions University, Montgomery, AL. With Day Seven, Darren counsels with men who struggle with sexual brokenness in a number of areas. He spent 23 years in the Air Force and is employed as a program manager at the Navy Depot in Mechanicsburg. He serves in a leadership position with the Camp Hill Church of Christ, Camp Hill, where he and his wife, Jennifer, attend. The Crowdens have a married daughter and twin grandsons.
Craig is a chaplain with Willow Valley Retirement Communities, and works part-time for Day Seven Ministries as an intake counselor. He is also the author of a memoir, “A Walk With God to Remember,” about his first wife, who died of leukemia. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, he has worked in campus ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and in church ministry with an Evangelical Free congregation. He is married to Diane and has two daughters adopted from China.
Gary L. Lord
Gary is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified school psychologist. He works part-time with Day Seven Ministries and full-time as a school psychologist for Reading School District. He is an active member of Lancaster Evangelical Free Church. His focus in counseling is, and has been for 25 years, relationships and problems with intimacy and anything that prevents individuals and couples from achieving healthy, effective, faithful, and fulfilling lives. In addition to his clinical work, Gary has done executive coaching and consulting with businesses and organizations, and he has taught and done research at universities and colleges. He has also taught and served in various leadership positions in the church. Gary and his wife, Temmy, live in Leola. Their two married children live in Seattle, Gary’s home state.
Bill has been a part-time therapist at Day Seven Ministries since 2003. He works with individuals dealing with sexual addiction, depression, and anxiety-related problems including obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. His particular area of interest involves helping trauma survivors rediscover and strengthen their sense of self. Bill received his Bachelor of Science degree in Bible and Professional Counseling in 2003 from Lancaster Bible College and his Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology in 2007 from Millersville University. He is a member of the American Counseling Association and attends Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster. Bill and his wife, Carry, live in Lancaster with their two daughters.
Shelby is studying Mental Health Counseling (master’s program) at Lancaster Bible College. She is currently working through her internship here at Day Seven Ministries. Upon graduation in 2014, she desires to pursue licensure and, one day, open a women’s center that offers counseling, parenting, career, and nutritional training, clothing, food, etc. Although Shelby and her husband Steve are originally from Oregon, they have lived in Pennsylvania for a little over 3 years with their two dogs. They both enjoy serving together as youth leaders at GraceLife Church in Annville.
Nick Received his Master of Arts in Counseling from Biblical Theological Seminary. He has a bachelor’s degree from union university where he received his BS in Business Administration. After being in the business world for six years he decided to make a change. He worked for an at-risk youth camp where he helped families work through trauma and restore their broken relationships. During this time he developed his passion for helping others restore relationships. This is when Nick felt called to go into counseling. Nick is married and enjoys spending time with his wife and friends. He likes spending time outdoors, but does like watching movies on his surround sound.
Chris is a pastoral care intern, working toward a Master of Arts in Ministry Care and is able to provide pastoral care in the area of youth, families, marriage, and addictions drawing from his experience as a youth pastor and his training in addictions, crisis counseling, and group care. While he is a Pastoral Care professional who has been trained in pastoral care, more importantly he is a fellow follower of Christ who has learned from life’s difficulties how to grow in his journey with God even in the midst of painful circumstances. Chris have over four years experience partnering with others on their journey toward healing in a group format, encouraging them toward a place of health and freedom from their battles in life, specifically in the area of sexual purity. The ultimate authority for which he relies on in the transformation process is Christ and His Word. He has completed a Master’s of Divinity degree in Ministry Leadership, which is the culmination of four years of intense theological training. Chris have been married to his wife Jenn for over five years and they have a young son Ian who was born in November of 2013.
Renee is a a mother and grandmother to a daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. She is also an animal lover, enjoy the outdoors, summer and winter sports and loves music. Renee’s undergraduate degrees in chemistry and biology equipped her with a pre-med background, and later she completed my first masters degree in Business Management (MBA). In her career as an emergency manager, she learned she was able to diffuse various crisis situations. She translated these skills of conflict resolution into her passion to assist people who are in crisis psychologically and emotionally. She started her counseling career ten years ago when she established a non-profit organization that focuses on the reduction of stressors in the lives of adults and youth. Renee completed a master’s degree in Marketplace Chaplaincy with a concentration in Christian Counseling. She also has additional graduate hours in Professional Psychology; and has completed three units in Clinical Pastoral Education, which will be used towards Board Certification in Chaplaincy. Renee uses an eclectic style—a Rogerian style of listening combined with Reality and Cognitive Behavioral therapeutic approaches. Other therapies are sometimes incorporated as needed for a person’s healing journey. A second passion she is pursuing is the establishment of transitional housing and counseling for women coming out of human trafficking.
Rebecca is a licensed social worker who received a Bachelors degree in psychology from Dallas Baptist University and a Masters in social work from Millersville University. She is a Lancaster county native and lives with her husband and 8-year old daughter in the Manheim area. As a life-long resident, she is interested in addressing the strengths and growth opportunities inherent to Lancaster county culture within the therapeutic process. Rebecca is passionate about promoting the integration of spiritual and emotional health, believing that one is not complete without the other. This focus translates into many areas including individual wellness, sexual health, relational and marital health, and a variety of mental health issues. She enthusiastically supports the mission of Day Seven in promoting heart wellness first, as it is “the wellspring of life”.
Daena works part time for Day Seven and also works in private practice. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education from Shippensburg University, and a Master of Art in Marriage and Family Therapy from Evangelical Theological Seminary. Understanding that people yearn to be freed from the bonds of sexual brokenness, Daena strives to help clients develop wholeness of soul. So many tendrils of lies permeate the hearts, minds and souls of those struggling with sexual brokenness that part of the work of therapy therapy involves restoration; the ability to know and tell others about personal needs, wants and desires; a reclamation of the power given to us by God as people created in His image; and the ability to engage in healthy relationships with others. Additionally, she enjoys working with couples to help guide them to explore the possibilities of choosing to create a better marriage. Daena is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. She and her husband, Joe, have three children and attend Hope Community Church in Mt. Joy, PA.
Day Seven Ministries offers professional, confidential, Christian counseling to individuals, couples, adolescents, and families affected by sexual and relational brokenness issues. Each counselor at Day Seven Ministries is a committed Christian who is equipped to integrate the Christian faith with psychotherapy techniques. We approach counseling from a solid Biblical perspective, because we believe that ultimate healing and true freedom comes through an active, growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and that this relationship affects change in all areas of life.
Although each counselor has a slightly different approach to the counseling process, our idea or theory can be described as:
- Biblically based and Christ-centered
- Family Systems
- Modified 12-step emphasis and integration recovery model approach
Our professional Christian counselors will address any issue related to sexuality, including sexual addiction, pornography, sexual abuse, homosexuality, same-sex attraction, gender confusion, emotionally dependent relationships, promiscuous sexual relationships, marital unfaithfulness and various other sexual relationships. We also provide counseling for individuals who have a sexually addicted spouse and family members who have a loved one who struggles with a sexual issue.
We counsel men, women, couples, families, and adolescents over age 14.
We believe that healing is facilitated through honesty within the context of safe relationships.
Recovery Groups at Day Seven Ministries offer a place where people can talk about their struggles,
find support, receive accountability, and be placed in contact with resources to information
that will aid them in their recovery.
Day Seven Ministries groups meet weekly and are often led by men and women who were once participants. Each group is slightly different; however, all groups focus on healing from
sexual brokenness issues. Listed below are the types of groups offered:
- Men’s Recovery – for men who struggle with sexual addiction, same sex attraction or other sexual and relational issues.
- Women’s Recovery – for women who struggle with sexual addiction, same sex attraction or other sexual and relational issues.
- Wives’ Recovery – for women whose spouses struggle with sexual brokenness issues.
Day Seven Ministries’ recovery groups operate on a quarterly basis and require an individual commitment
to that time frame. However, new participants are welcome at any time. An intake appointment is
necessary for group participation. This appointment allows us to match a new participant to
the appropriate group, discuss group guidelines and confidentiality, and protect the
safety of all group members.
Groups are currently available in Camp Hill, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Mountville.
For more information or to schedule an Intake in preparation for participating in a Recovery Group,
call the Day Seven Ministries office at (717) 735-0690 or toll-free at (866) 301-3297.
Seminars & Workshops
Day Seven Ministries staff and counselors are available for a variety of speaking engagements that can be customized to your organization’s specific needs. Seminars and workshops cover
a variety of topics relating to sexual brokenness and healing. In the past, we have presented
seminars or workshops for churches, women’s and men’s Bible studies, youth groups, pregnancy
centers, group homes, camps, colleges, and nonprofit organizations.
Conference and Workshop Topics include but are not limited to:
“What is Day Seven all About and Why Do We Exist?”
This is a general talk in which the reality of sexual brokenness is shared along with Day Seven Ministries’
vision to be a voice of hope and a place of restoration for those in sexual and relational conflict
throughout each and every community within Central PA.
“Can’t We All Just Get Along?”
If we are all supposed to be Christians, why is there conflict within the body? What does it mean to truly
live together in community, not just skip out when the going gets rough? This workshop will explore
what the Bible says about how to handle conflict with our brothers and sisters in Christ
and what it teaches us about ourselves.
“Ministering Redemptively With Hope to People Who Struggle With Same Sex Attraction.”
In our culture, people struggling with SSA are often presented with two options: learn to embrace the
attraction or learn to live with condemnation. But, there is another way. The church is to be the
hands and feet of Jesus ministering to people in their brokenness. Through the church, the
hope of Christ and His redemptive power may be extended to those who feel hopeless and
powerless over their attraction.
“Honest Talks About Sex”
This series of interactive workshops is designed to help people talk openly about sex and sexuality
and its place in today’s culture. These workshops cover a variety of topics including a biblical
overview of sexuality, perspectives on gender and sexuality, cultural messages about sex,
and why God created sex. It also addresses issues such as homosexuality,
exual addiction, and masturbation.
“What Does The Bible Say About That?”
The Bible has a lot to say about sexuality, homosexuality, gender, and God’s design for us. This
workshop explores those truths and discusses them in the context of today’s culture and
the messages being’ portrayed through the media.
“Sexual Addiction: Bondage to Counterfeit Intimacy”
Through this seminar the belief that sex is the primary means through which intimacy is found is
countered with the reality that sexual behaviors may lead to addiction which leaves a person
unable to find true intimacy with another. An overview is also provided on the nature of
sexual addiction as well as the belief system of the sexual addict. The seminar concludes
with suggestions on how to respond to the sexually addicted.
“Emotionally Dependent Relationships and Same Sex Attraction in Women”
Women thrive on relationships, but what happens when those relationships go awry? This workshop
addresses the roots and causes of emotionally dependent relationships and same-sex attraction.
It also discusses differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships and how to guard
friendships from becoming unhealthy.
Dating & Marriage
“How To Turbo Boost Your Marriage”
A number of ways are shared to accelerate a marriage forward:
- Construct a dream
- Commitment to each other
- Enhancing or rediscovering chemistry
- Making conflict work for growth
“The Mystery of Marital Oneness”
This talk is about the sexual relationship God created for a man and woman to experience
in the context of marriage.
“Purposeful Dating in a Non-committal World”
This workshop explores healthy aspects of relationships, specifically within the context of dating.
Main points include true intimacy, conflict, and community.
“A Father’s Impact on His Son’s Masculinity”
“My daddy is bigger than your daddy!”
“Oh, yeah? Well, my daddy is stronger than your daddy!” When observing a young boy imitating the way
his dad walks or talks, it quickly becomes evident that fathers leave a powerful imprint on their sons.
This talk examines a child’s perception of his father and how this perception impacts who he desires
to be one day. In addition to this, we will examine what it means to be in the image of daddy and
why a son wants to be like him more than anything else.
“Parenting in a Porn-is-the-Norm Culture”
What is a parent to do when pornographic images are everywhere? The purpose of this seminar is to share
the reality of the culture they are parenting their children in as well as to present ideas as to
how parents can engage their children in conversations that will help them to navigate this
cultural minefield without resorting to a bunker mentality.
“What’s Facing the Teenager That’s Facing You?”
IPods, Facebook, cyber bullying, sexual norms, media and cultural influences…Do you know what your teen
is up against? Designed for parents and teenagers alike, this workshop gives parents a glimpse into
what today’s teenagers are facing, how to open conversations about those issues, and how to stay
culturally savvy in an ever-changing pop culture world.
Relationships & Identity
“Boundaries in Relationships”
Learn how, when, and why it is sometimes necessary to set boundaries in relationships. Discover
what a boundary is and how it can be used to guard and protect yourself and the relationships
that are important in your life.
“The Anatomy of a Healthy Relationship”
Learn the key ingredients for a healthy relationship, including:
- Intentionality and commitment
- Setting and respecting boundaries
- Building safety, trust, and intimacy
- Conflict resolution
- Freedom to dream
What is it? Who designs it? Why do you need it? How do you get it?
A definition and discussion on the basics of accountability relationships, God’s plan for us in
accountability relationships, and the process of putting accountability as a practical
discipline into our lives will all be presented in this workshop.
“What Am I Worth?”
Exploring How and Where We Gain Our Value
Many times we try to find our value and worth in all of the wrong places instead of looking to
our Creator. Learn what it means to be known in Christ and find our significance in Him.
To schedule a speaking engagement or for more information, call the Day Seven Ministries
office at (717) 735-0690.
“Is Integrity REALLY About Who We Are When No One is Looking?”
There are statements I have heard repeated over and over again. Some ring true, some are absurd, and others feel like a bone stuck in my throat – not quite choking the life out of me, but definitely making it difficult to breath. The oft-used definition of integrity being “who you are when no one is looking” is one of those statements that lodges in my throat. Maybe it is because who I am when no one is looking is not consistent with who I profess to be in public. Maybe. Or, maybe it is because NO ONE is who they profess to be in public, when no one is watching.
In Matthew 5 Jesus turned this behaviorally-oriented definition of integrity on its head when he taught, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” And then he spoke to sexual sin – “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
So, is it possible integrity is about far more than who we are when no one is looking? If we work from this definition, can any of us honestly say we have integrity? If it were possible to project your thoughts onto a big screen would people see your thoughts and conclude, “This is a person with integrity.”? I grant you they might, for a time. But, how long until you would distract them so they would turn away?
I was blessed with the opportunity to spend two weeks in Colorado enjoying the beauty of the Rockies and the experience of heat without humidity (and I concluded I will take 90 degrees with no humidity over 80 degrees and humidity). The primary reason I was there was to meet with a therapist/spiritual director for 3 hours a day, for 10 days. (Yes, even therapists need therapy.) One of the things we talked about was integrity, and what it really means. Integrity is recognizing WHO we REALLY are and WHOSE we are…even when our thoughts or behavior may not be consistent with what it means to be a child of God. So, yes, what I am saying is it is possible for sin and integrity to exist in the same space.
(Pause…take a deep breath…in fact you may want to take several slow…deep breaths…)
To be integrated is to be whole. To be whole is to know who you are and even more importantly for the follower of Christ, it is to know whose you are. So, at the moment you sin, does your identity cease to be rooted in Christ and his death on your behalf? Does his life, which has become your life, cease to be? Or, are you living an integrated life ONLY when you would feel safe for people to watch ALL your thoughts and behaviors on the big screen? If so, it may be you are still working to earn God’s love and approval.
I recently read a blog by Donald Miller titled, “Having Integrity Doesn’t Make You a Good Person.” He suggests we “lean in close to Christ. When we know our God loves us whether we are good or bad or a mix, we don’t have to be defensive. When we know we are accepted by the only judge with authority to judge (in eternal matters) we have the power to accept ourselves as we really, and that means to be integrated. An integrated person is someone who can remain objective about themselves. And it is Jesus, not religion that allows us to be objective about ourselves because if we know Jesus, there is no penalty for our shortcomings and sin. While we may be disciplined in love, we are ultimately okay as we are. It’s a works-based religion that doles out reward and punishment based on our actions and can ultimately lead to a disintegrated personality.”
“O Death…How I Hate Thee”
Over 20 years ago I worked with a man named Bruce who could build and fix anything. I am not sure why he kept me around, other than the fact we developed a close friendship and he was one of the primary people who walked with me through the most painful period of my life. Some of our work would involve assembling and then climbing scaffolding to work on eaves trough or installing windows. I was next to useless. Why? Because I ALWAYS had to be holding on with both hands – which makes it very difficult to do anything of value.
How would my friend Bruce respond to me? He would say, with a mischievous grin, “It’s not the fall that will kill you,” and “Quicker death – quicker glory.” Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe there is hope for life extending beyond the grave and as Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4, Christ-followers are not to grieve as those who have no hope. So, we have hope.
But you know what? Death still sucks! This weekend I was struck again with how I hate death. First, there was the death of the head coach of the football team I have followed passionately for about the last 40 years (with a brief break to cheer for the Bills as they pursued their first Super Bowl victory). Chuck Noll lead one of the greatest turnarounds of any professional sports team as the Steelers went from an automatic “W” for whoever they played to a team to be feared. Noll’s death, while sad and causing me to reflect, didn’t disrupt my weekend.
The news has been full of death lately, whether it be in the Middle East, Kenya, the streets of Harrisburg, York, Lancaster or York Haven. All of the deaths, except for one, have been the result of acts of violence in which weapons were used to take the lives of those declared to be enemies. I hate it all! My hatred isn’t a result of the weapons used, but the brokenness of the human heart leading to the taking of life.
But, there is one death, one loss of life leaving a mark on my heart and mind in a way few others have. Two brothers, twins, identical in every way. They might as well have been Siamese twins because I don’t think I ever heard one talked about without the other. Jake and Josh Hershey both graduated from Red Land High School on Friday, June 6 with Heather’s and my twins, Heath and Hannah (and no, they are not identical!). Just over one week later Josh is gone and Jake is hospitalized, recovering from the physical injuries he received as a result of a car wreck.
Up until now, I have been kept at a comfortable distance from the pain, anger, and questions that come when a teenager dies. I have known of others who have died, but this is the closest it has hit home to me. Heath and Hayden were at Jake and Josh’s for numerous bonfires and pool parties. Several times Jake and Josh were in our home and I remember times I exchanged trash talk with either Jake or Josh (I couldn’t tell them apart). They were both Patriot fans and as a Steelers’ fan I can’t stand the Patriots. We would talk smack and then Jake and/or Josh would smile.
Last night I wrote a Facebook post, but never posted it. As a parent of three teenagers, I think the Hershey’s accident is every parent’s worst nightmare. It doesn’t matter whether the knock on the door comes in the middle of the night or when the sun is at its highest and brightest, it is the knock no parent ever wants to hear and the door no parent ever wants to answer.
At this time there are more questions than answers and in the time to come there will be questions remaining unanswered. There is grieving and mourning to be done, children to be hugged and reminded of how they are loved. There are prayers to be silently spoken, whispered, and shouted whether they be in coherent sentences or by single words. Prayers may be punctuated by periods, question marks, or exclamation points. Prayers for Mr. and Mrs. Hershey, Jake and other family members. Prayers for friends and fellow classmates who closed the chapter on their high school story just over one week ago. Prayers asking the God of all comfort to meet them in their grief.
Writing this has been cathartic, but I still hate death. I know I am not alone in this. The story is told in John 11 where Jesus’ heart was deeply grieved as a result of the death of his friend, Lazarus. I believe Jesus hated death too. He saw Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, along with many others weeping and mourning. It was never supposed to be this way.
It is my prayer people will experience the life Jesus has to offer – life that binds up the brokenhearted, for there are many broken hearts – to comfort all who mourn, for there are many who are mourning – and to provide for those who grieve, for the grieving are many.
Death…I still hate thee…but you do not have the last word.
We want so much! Oh God, sometimes we want so much! And the things that we want, they are not bad! We want safety, we want to be heard, we want to be loved and shown the way. We want good things for our kids and blessings for our family. We want solutions to very real problems and, oh God it is true, we want world peace. Admittedly, we want the other things too, the less Godly, more selfish things, but it would still be ok if we got them: out of debt, a little more time, a quiet moment or two, some rest.
And to be perfectly honest, God, when we don’t get these things, it is hard to trust you. There are people–real flesh and blood, here now people—who could give us what we want right here and now and they will! There are some who would calm our nerves, feel our pain and be there with us, if only for a little while. God, that feels so good. It feels so good that even though we know, oh God, we know it won’t last, and we know it will feel worse when the pleasure passes; it is here God, and present to us in a way to numb us of the pain. Yes, God, we know it is distraction. We know it will not last, we confess it is self-serving, and we know it will only be worse, but God, oh God, it does work…if only for the moment.
Why, God is it easier to believe that what we know won’t last is better for us than waiting on you? It makes me sad. I feel bad for the times I do this, and even worse when I offer the temporary to others when I know the Eternal, You, are available. Why am I so scared to accept you?
When I allow myself to think of these things, and finally admit the truth, it is this: I do not believe you are enough. Yup, I said it. I have a hard time believing that the God of the Angel Armies is enough for me. Wow, that admission is even sadder than offering temporary comfort to those I love. I need to take that in.
You know God, somehow it feels safe to admit this to you. Oddly, I feel as though you are still listening. I did not expect that your response to me would be, “tell me more”, I thought you would have slammed the door, stomped down the hall and written me off as not worth the effort. Quite frankly, I just feel as though you are here. With me. Ready to listen if I have more to say, or just close by if not.
Huh, the God of the Angel Armies is on my side. Maybe, just for today, I will live in letting that be enough. Maybe, just for today, I will explore what that means to rely only on you. Just today, my daily bread. Is that what you mean? Daily strength to trust in You? Just for today.
Where are you failing to trust God? How does it feel to admit this? What is it you feel God is not providing for you? Where do you turn to get this?
Read 1 Corinthians 13 but substitute “God” wherever “love” is written.
Lord, may we trust you for all our needs, just for today. May we share this experience with others.
Copyright 2014 Kelly Anoka
What Happens First?
Contact our office for more information or to schedule an appointment at 717.735.0690 or 866.301.DAY7, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We charge modest fees for our services and no one will be turned away due to an inability to pay. Your initial contact with Day Seven does not obligate you to our counseling services.
At our Camp Hill location, Day Seven partners with Grace Like a River. Grace Like a River is a counseling and healing ministry of Shawn Geraty and friends whose passion and desire is to see people’s hearts transformed and minds renewed in the presence of Christ and the Father’s healing love. Their specialty is integrating healing approaches with professional Christian counseling that lead to transformation and wholeness in people’s lives. Grace Like a River offers counseling services to individuals, couples, families, and groups. They also offer seminars for churches that focus on personal growth and healing, as well as, training seminars for those seeking to facilitate healing in counseling and church settings. For more info, visit www.gracelikeariver.com
- 717.735.0690 or (Toll Free) 866.301.DAY7
- 802 Olde Hickory Road Lancaster, PA 17601
- 1213 Old Slate Hill Rd, Camp Hill PA 17011
Bethany Church of the Nazarene
1605 Parkway West Harrisburg, PA 17112