Part One: Introduction
From the time I was 12 and read my Catholic Bible cover to cover through the time I was 48 and miraculously healed, all the answers I had sought to the questions that arose regarding my daily life I had found in the Bible. So, soon after I was healed I looked to the Bible to find out what a person’s healed life was like, say, a year later. But that time when I searched the Bible, I found no answers. Thus this follow-up to my testimony “Healed” was written to give an account of the first six years of my life after I was healed.
Part Two: Filling In The Blanks.
First, here are some things I would like to share with you from the first 48 years that are not in the testimony “Healed”.
To begin with, although this may already be apparent due to having received from my parents a Catholic Holy Bible for my 12th year Christmas present, is that I was raised a Roman Catholic. This means that as an infant I was Baptized into the supernatural faith of my Church family, then later made my first Act of Reconciliation, received my First Communion, and then Confirmed the faith of my Church family as being my own. Then when I was 17 I rebelled and left the Church. But there is more to be clarified about that.
My rebelling had nothing to do with the traumatic events of my childhood. I was never traumatized in the Church, I was only loved there. I was loved as all of us are loved: by imperfect people in need of a yet closer relationship with the perfect One who is love.
A twist in my understanding of how to lovingly follow God occurred because one of the three traumatic events of my childhood included being exposed as a 5 year old to satanic-like cult activity. To my 5 year old mind, the cult experience looked like organized religion. They wore religious type garments, conducted their meetings in a ritualistic manner, a male-leader stood in front and spoke, and they spoke in a (satanic) tongue. But before I continue, please allow me to explain a little about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
One of the functions of our mind is to name and file, in an organized way in respect to meaning and time, the events of our life. An event is considered overwhelmingly traumatic when the person has no name for it and therefore no way to correctly file that event into one’s memory in respect to meaning and time. Thus the unnamed, unfiled event remains present tense and alive in the person’s mind. The mind then goes into overdrive, so to speak, and in its attempt to cope with the task of assimilating the overwhelmingly traumatic event into the person’s memory, the mind protects its person by disassociating, by splitting off, that overwhelmingly traumatic event from the person’s conscious awareness. In so doing, it allows the person to proceed in life as if nothing traumatic had happened, or so it would seem.
But because the overwhelmingly traumatic event remains alive and in the present-tense in the mind, and the mind is connected to the person, the mind, in its God-made brilliance, breaks down the event into smaller and smaller present-tense pieces until it finds a size tiny enough that the person can bear to look at it for just a split second without feeling overwhelmed. However, looking at it for even a moment longer typically induces the person into panic. The mind breaks the event into tiny pieces in an attempt to help the person assimilate that event because the mind is still desperately trying to do its God-given job: to name and file the events of one’s life in an organized way in respect to meaning and time.
T0 further help the person go on with life, the mind holds these tiny pieces away from the person’s conscious awareness until something that has similar circumstances occurs in the person’s life. Then the mind holds up to the person’s conscious awareness a tiny piece of the previous traumatic event in the hopes that the person will look at it long enough to recognize and identify even that tiny piece, so that the mind can then correctly file that event in respect to meaning and time. For example, it is not unusual for a soldier, once home, upon hearing the loud, explosive sound of an automobile backfire, to drop into combat position as a reaction to the mind holding up a tiny piece of a particular combat event that the overwhelmed soldier has not yet reflected on and mentally filed in respect to meaning and time. That held up tiny piece of overwhelming traumatic event is what is referred to as a flashback hallucination, it is a hallucinatory flashback to a previous time. However, because it has retained its present-tenseness, the person cannot initially distinguish whether that held up tiny piece is from the present or the past, and therefore the person reacts to the held up tiny piece as if it were actually now happening.
So, although the mind’s disassociation of the event may be initially helpful to the person’s ability to cope and get on with life, once the flashback hallucinations start, which is sometimes not until years or decades after the event, a person’s ability to cope often begins to decline as the person experiences progressive losses in the ability to discern past from present, in the ability to discern the reality that exists outside of one’s body from the reality of the memories that are held inside of one’s mind, of dignity at their own aversion to their unexplainable behavioral reactions, and in relationships as people pull away in confusion and fear from the expressions of that sickness in that person.
Please understand that the mind and the person are of one and the same being. I separated them, though, in the above discussion so as to make clear that this disassociation occurs in the subconscious mind; the person does not consciously choose to disassociate the overwhelming event. We are, indeed, fearfully and wonderfully made.
To turn around this downward progression in coping, or to prevent its occurrence in the first place, a person who experiences an overwhelmingly traumatic event must communicate with caring people who can help the person understand what is present-tense real, from what is past-tense real, and who can walk alongside the person and provide the mighty strength of character that is needed to help the person face one’s fears so that he or she can healthfully reflect on the overwhelming event so as to finally file that event in the mind in respect to meaning and time.
The bottom line is that, in the timing of God’s providence, community is what will help heal the person, but yet it is community that the person pulls away from in shame, and community that pulls away from the person in confusion and fear. In my mind, the perception of being separate from one’s community is the sole reason for the high suicide rate among people who have developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some trauma survivors, including myself, have found the technique of EMDR very helpful, however it seems to be best conducted by a compassionate professional who has specialized training in the treatment of trauma disorders. Also, please be aware that sometimes the emotions that occur at the same time as flashbacks are actually hallucinatory, and are part of the hallucinated experience, not simply a reaction to the hallucinated experience.
In my case, my mind disassociated and cut into tiny pieces the three different traumatic events, and I did not begin to recognize them for what they were until I was in therapy in my 30’s. That being said, I began experiencing flashback hallucinations, panic attacks and nightmares when I was 10. By the time I was 17 and left the Church I had already been ill for 7 years.
When I was 17 I still had no idea what I had been progressively experiencing for 7 years. Instead, I believed I was inflicted by a horrendous disease and was not long for this world. That is due in part because I was traumatized in three different ways, by three different men or groups of men who were unrelated and had no knowledge of each other’s presence in my life. And these events mostly occurred in my early childhood, prior to developing the necessary language skills that would have enabled me to get help, and then to correctly name and ascribe meaning and time to those events so as to file them in past-tense memory. For those two reasons it took years of therapy to connect the tiny pieces of the puzzle and to come to the realization that I had experienced, not one, but three different traumatic experiences in the hands of three different criminals at three different times in my childhood.
By the time I was 17, multi-sensory flashback hallucinations of all different sorts had been floating around in my mind for 7 years, day and night without ceasing. For what seemed to be an unknown reason I had become increasingly edgy around religious people and buildings of any sort, until I finally left even my own church. Of course, the circumstances at the time made logical sense, they always do. Somebody said something and I got rightfully mad, so I left. Yea, that’s “normal” human behavior for a rebellious Christian who is unwilling to forgive and forget; a “normal” Christian who refuses to love others as Jesus loves them. That being said, please note that was the same year I attempted suicide and ended up hospitalized, only to attempt suicide again while there. Like Judas, my separation from God due to my own sin, no one else’s, was complete.
Some have asked me if I have had confirmation that the events I hallucinated actually occurred, and were not merely confabulated. Yes, those events have been confirmed. In the providence of His timing and wisdom, Jesus has returned me to Ohio not once, but twice. The first time I was still ill, and one of the men approached me and asked for forgiveness, which, of course, was granted. He had suffered for years not knowing that I had forgiven him long ago. The second time Jesus returned me to Ohio, after I was healed, the cult leader approached me and requested forgiveness. I had already forgiven him, too. It turns out that in the 45 years between the cult experience and when we later met, we had both experienced the healing hand of God. In joy, we had both turned away from our idolatrous and angry lives, and could now worship Jesus together. Joy is such an incredibly richer experience than rage: joy animates life, rage corrupts life. If the sinless incarnate God can forgive us, and He did and does, then surely we repeatedly sinful humans can pray for more faith and endeavor to forgive each other. And praise Him: nothing is impossible with God.
Part Three: The New Stuff.
Ok, I’m done preaching. Now I can pick up from where I left off towards the end of “Healed”. After I had prayed in my truck, “You’ll have to use me as I am, or heal me yourself”, I went in and said good-bye to the therapist, went home, went to work, went back home and took my three medications and then went to bed. I woke up healed. I also woke up with the sensation that something inside of me, so therefore me, was flying through outer space, faster than a human can normally imagine. I’d close my eyes and the sensation of flying face first continued. I was neither hot nor cold, was in no danger, and could breathe just fine. I saw celestial bodies go by as if they were standing still. This sensation continued night and day for two weeks. I don’t know what it means. If you have heard of this experience referenced before, please tell me.
But for those two weeks I was in psychological shock, and could not grasp that Jesus healed me. Then I attended a Baptist church for the second time. When I entered the church, this time the people’s faces did not distort into a hallucinatory rage, and the walls never moved around in hallucinations that returned me to places of former abuse. The people remained smiling, and the walls stayed still. I was beginning to grasp that Jesus may have actually healed me. So as I entered and chose where to sit, I decided that if it was true that Jesus had healed me then I no longer needed to sit in the back by the door, where I could make a quick exit if the hallucinations became too intense. For the first time in my life I became emboldened, and decided I would sit in the middle of the middle.
I determined where the middle of the middle would be, then repeatedly excused myself as I scooted past seated brethren to the center of the long row of chairs. I made sure to take my time, and look at the people’s faces, and to speak with people as I passed by. By the time I got to the middle of the middle I was giggling and giddy: there had been not one distorted face. I sat down and attempted to conceptualize what was happening, I was leaning forward and looking at the floor when the music started. I remember being immediately swept away in an incredible and indescribable flow of intensely beautiful worship, and then I remembered nothing more for at least 45 minutes, when I ‘came to’ by Pastor Troy’s emphatic voice, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long, and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge –that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:16-19). At that moment I prayed, “Never let me forget that you have healed me” and “I will do anything for you, the one, true God who saved me and healed me” because it was at that moment that I knew I had been miraculously healed by God: therefore faith in the existence of God, and Jesus as God, is no longer needed.
And at that moment of my conscious knowing, the flying sensation abruptly stopped. Although I have never remembered what happened during those 45 minutes between the time the music started and when I ‘came to’, I am sure it was intensely beautiful.
Leaving that Baptist church after that service, I almost turned around and went back in, the worship music was so beautiful. But I decided I had things to do, and so I continued to walk to my truck at the other end of the long parking lot. Along the way I marveled how the music never decreased in volume, and I wondered how the band did that –perhaps the music echoed off the hills around me? As I got in my truck, and closed the door, the beautiful music was yet unchanging.
I started going to my friend’s Assemblies of God church (Pentecostal), and was accepted there with open arms. They do not deny the Spirit, and they welcomed my testimony. I took those times for granted, because it was common sense to me that Jesus heals. I thought all Christians believed that.
Part Four: Being A Miraculously Healed Hospital Nurse, And Being A Miraculously Healed Woman In A Church That Denies The Spirit Of The Living God Who Miraculously Heals.
At the time of my healing I had been working for six months in an Emergency psychiatry room. Now healed, I took my Bible to work and kept it next to me on my desk. I had trouble speaking due to a previous head injury, but I could talk about the Bible with my patients. Loving them as Jesus loves me, and sharing the word of God with them helped them more than anything. My boss was an angry atheist, and had a drawer made so the workers could keep their things in it. He never said what things, so I thanked him and put my purse in it, leaving my Bible on my desk.
However, I did manage to stay 12 more months there. At that point in his rage he asked me if he should have me escorted out by security (I had gone to his boss to seek permission, and she had granted it). Knowing my time was coming, our Lord had had an angel tell me what to write for my termination letter. It was a beautiful letter of witness to my boss, his boss, and the compliance officer for the hospital. That was in December of 2009.
But backing up a bit, in the meantime my parents had taken ill on Memorial Day Weekend, 2009. I was afraid for their safety, and they consented to my moving into their condo so as to better see to their health. So for 7 months I travelled back and forth between Ohio and Kentucky, as I got rid of my 17 animals and my things in Kentucky. With my termination from my job in KY in 12/2009, the deal was sealed and His move of me back to Ohio was complete.
I returned to the non-denominational Protestant church whose loving arms Jesus had first led me to 8 years earlier, back when I had still been psychotic. I took a membership class and along with the application for membership handed in my joyfully handwritten testimony only to discover that they were doctrinally cessationistic in their beliefs, and did not believe in miracles.
I had begun to work at a major hospital chain in Ohio. God had told me in prayer that He wanted to see His name written in every patient’s chart. So I spoke to my boss at length, and she gave me permission to provide spiritual care, “as long as no one complains”. After leaving her office I sat down at the nurses’ desk to plan my next step. It was so quiet. I wondered what sound had stopped while I was in her office, and then I realized that the amazing worship music in my head that had been playing for 24/7 for 18 months had stopped. I worked at the hospital prn, which means I worked when it fit my schedule, and was not obligated to work a set number of hours. But during the time of my employment there God healed people like He healed me. It was an idyllic time of nursing for me.
Now pausing a moment to explain the God-given purpose of the flying sensation and the 24/7 worship music. At the moment of my realization of having been healed, I had prayed, “Never let me forget that you have healed me.” The flying sensation, regardless of its not-yet understood meaning for the heavenly realm, was a tickler to my shocked conscious mind to continue to consider that something out of this world had happened to me, and not to brush it under the carpet, so to speak. In like manner the worship music continually playing in my head was a constant reminder that He had healed me. A reminder that continued up until the time that I understood the mission at hand and took the first step to act on it. At that point, the loving steps I took and continue to take in obedience of my understanding of His will have become the daily reminders of His miraculous healing of me. Can I get back the worship music? Yes. When I am not actively sinning (which I am happy to now report is most of the time!) I can turn it off and on at will, and can even increase of decrease its volume. And sometimes, to this day, my own bellowing singing wakes me up at night. We are, indeed, fearfully and wonderfully made.
But I longed to do some more cardiac nursing, and in 2/2011 began to also work at an affiliate of the same hospital system. It was a brand new hospital. They did all the right things the first 30 days they were opened, then the very next day after they became accredited by Medicare, and therefore were permitted to bill Medicare, they doubled the patient load per nurse. I refused to take that many patients, because I knew I could not provide prudent care to all of them, I would be forced to provide negligent care, and ran a much greater risk of performing malpractice and thus harming a patient. I did not go to school and become a nurse in order to have the opportunity to injure people.
I was one of the most senior nurses on the unit, most of the others were either relatively new grads or otherwise had less than 5 years of experience, often not even in a hospital nursing environment. Excited to be working at a new hospital, and for such a prestigious company, their young hearts were hit broadside by this intentional wickedness.
For a month no one said anything to me, and did not hassle me. Then the other nurses saw the wisdom in my choice, and began to refuse to take that many patients, too. In the meantime, I stumbled upon an Ohio law, enacted House Bill 346, which mandates a hospital’s chief nursing executive to develop safe staffing plan for each inpatient unit in the hospital, based on the workload of the unit, and with the input from nurses who work on each unit. The hospital in which I was employed had taken no such steps, and were arbitrarily increasing the number of patients each nurse was assigned so as to reduce their overhead and therefore bring in more revenue.
Please know; when I graduated from nursing school in 1984 the DRG’s had been formed and implemented, and I was told by a hospital that the DRG’s so impaired the hospital’s bottom line that they would never hire a nurse again. Since then not only have they hired nurses, they have grown to become a Level One trauma center. In the years since then, there have been other changes in the system of health care in the U.S., and each change brings hand-wringing by hospital administrators and tales of woe that encourage one to believe that health care will completely collapse if even one more nurse is hired.
So please also know, that means that instead of hiring the right amount of nurse to safely care for you and your loved ones, people who have been entrusted to the hospital’s care by God, there has become a long and engrained tradition by most hospital administrators to blatantly endanger the health and lives of you, your loved ones, and your direct caretakers, but who will pay for a few lawsuits instead.
To put it another way, some hospital administrators have taken up shop in God’s places of healing. The patient is the animal whose well-being is endangered or sacrificed by the hospital administrators in order to gain more monetary wealth (for certainly these administrators do not respect the patients as humans created in the image and likeness of God, but as material things to be used and spent as one pleases). The nurses are bullied into taking more patients than they can prudently care for, but what are they to do: when they refuse and are fired, where would they go? So the nurses are exploited and forced to make the direct sacrifice of the patient’s health (and often their own health, remember my torn rhomboid muscle back in 1994?), and the hospital administrators reap the financial profit into their pockets. This is clearly predatory behavior on the part of the hospital administrators. It is an act of exploitation of the public’s trust, and of the dignity of both the patients and their care-givers, and of the treasures obtained through payments and gifts.
Part of my first nursing job, way back in 1985, was to care for patients who were sent there by the courts for psychiatric evaluation. My training in forensics taught me that the only thing that stops a sociopathic personality from committing their crime of choice is the fear of being caught. Interestingly, the Safe Staffing law provides no mechanism of enforcement -after all, why should it? Therefore, with no threat of actually being caught, these criminal administrators reveal themselves to possess the same mindset as pedophiles and serial killers.
So I followed the allowances of that law, and as a citizen tax-payer I assessed other hospitals’ compliances with the law, and found most did not even acknowledge the law at all. Furthermore, it was not unusual, even though I was humbly following the allowances provided within the law, to yet be met with paranoia and hostility when I politely asked for a copy of a hospital’s staffing pattern. In fact, one prestigious hospital had me escorted out by security. Please be reassured, I was nothing but cooperative and polite, for what did I have to hide or be ashamed of? There was absolutely no doubt in my mind Whose side I was on, and Who it is Who saved me and healed me.
If you don’t believe me, and even if you do, then perhaps you will try this. According to Ohio law, “In a conspicuous location in the hospital, a notice shall be posted informing the public of the availability of the staffing plan. The notice shall specify the appropriate person, office, or department to be contacted to review or obtain a copy of the staffing plan.” Furthermore, “For a fee not to exceed actual copying costs, a copy of the staffing plan shall be provided to any person who requests it.” If you like, please make a detailed note as to the contact information for the hospital you surveyed, and where in the hospital you found the public notice (if you do find it), and with whom you first contacted, and then the dates and the chain of events that then proceeded. Then feel free to anonymously email that information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I filed complaints with the Ohio Board of Nursing against the nursing licenses of the 6-7 Chief Nursing Officers with the suggestion they were committing malpractice. I also corresponded with the State’s Attorney General’s Office, and with the Senator who had founded the bill that later became Ohio’s Safe Staffing law. I also alerted Medicare. I also spoke at length with an attorney, and with the Ohio Nurses Association, who are the people who advocate for safe nursing care and who are glad to jump into these types of intentional wickedness. Then, burned out and disillusioned, I deactivated my nursing license and walked away from a 25 year nursing career.
Part Five: Embraced In The Bridegroom’s Arms.
I relinquished my truck with only 3 or so payments left to be made, and followed Jesus out of upscale suburbia on to a bus and into the city. He moved me into a 2 room 3rd floor efficiency, whose wall of windows looked straight into the branches of a fruitful and squirrel-riddled walnut tree. That was a consolation of the Holy Spirit from Him: God’s creation follows me everywhere. I wondered if I would always stay in the city, then, if God had moved me out of the countryside and suburbia for good. I struggled in my mind to adjust to all of these changes, only three years past my healing, and yet a burning joy was always present.
And then there was that odd shaped wooden building next to my apartment. Over some months I spend hours studying its vague familiarity. It turns out the house it sits behind is the oldest standing farmhouse in that city, and the wooden building, whose shape I finally recognized, was the original carriage barn for that house. It used to stable the horses. Remembering my pre-healed life of love of horses, you’ll now see that there is no other Husband like Him: He thinks of everything.
In that way He kicked off two years of street ministry. Through that time I began the completion of a Bachelor’s degree through an online program. By taking two city buses and then walking 6 miles one way, I completed an 8 hour round trip on Saturdays to still attend the church service of my cessationistic church in the suburbs: I loved them. I love them.
And yet my heart grew more wrenched as my faith walk continued. Holding the nail-holed hand of Jesus I could not deny His continued presence in my life, which can only be explained through the continual revelation of the Spirit: which is not a natural occurrence, it cannot be studied by hypothesis, it is not a science. A personal relationship with God can only be known through faith, which is a miracle of God to mankind. But my cessationistic church insisted that God does not act through miracles nowadays, so it became clear to me that if what they said were to be true, and God had not healed me, then neither had He saved them: for whence comes His power to save a soul if not from the same one power Who heals a body? Are not both expressions of the entwined love and power of the eternal One?
I was encouraged by the people I met on the streets and on the buses to continue my quest for absolute truth. They wanted to know the answers to these kinds of questions, too, I began to study the different denominations and visit other churches. I hunted out religious blog sites authored by various denominational leaders, and responded to their blogs. I was looking for the answers. In his own mind, what gives a hospital administrator the right to ignore a law intended to support the health of a society? Is there anything at all that is right or wrong in this world? If so, who decides?
Is there anything at all that is merciful and just? Sometimes people on the street would say that it is up to the individual to decide what is merciful and just. So I would politely agree, then pick up their cellphone or their food, thank them, and walk away with it. You see? It can’t be up to the individual to decide, or a society is left with anarchy.
Not all denominational leaders would address me: I was the wrong God-made gender, the wrong marital status, the wrong educational level, or the wrong faith-walk (apparently some read, “Healed” and saw only me and not the word of God).
But the people on the streets that I spoke to who converted or reverted to Christianity were pressing me to tell them which church to attend. But I could not find the denomination that professed absolute truth. Instead, each denomination professed a relative truth, a piece of the pie, and sometimes a very distorted piece, based on their own preferences. And a few centuries ago they had deleted 10-14 percent of the Old Testament during their initial break away from His Church, and some were now also denying His whole Old Testament as well. Yet Jesus, a Jew, quotes the Old Testament, as did His Apostles. And Jesus says He is the way, and the truth and the life. He does not say He is the ways, and the truths and the lives -is not the Holy Bible still the inspired word of God? Exactly what church did the Holy Spirit initiate in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles? I began to study that.
In the meantime, I let go of my non-denominational cessationistic church. I eventually exhausted all the denominational churches in my area due to the lack of integrity in their belief-systems. When compared to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who had walked with me steadfastly throughout my traumatized and wayward life, and who had saved me and healed me, their self-defined God was too small. I reassured Jesus that it was ok, after all, had He not grown me into a strong woman? And although I so relished the freedom in my healing that enabled me to go into a church and worship Him within a fellowship of believers, I would abort my attempt to find a church, and content myself as the shepherd of the street people and the bus people. For with all efforts at finding a church who professed His one truth now being exhausted, where else could I go?
I was immediately told in prayer to go back to my beginning, to where I began, and retrace my denominational steps. This overjoyed me greatly: He had a church for me, after all. A few days later I walked into the local Catholic Church and celebrated Mass, and discovered that He had led me home. There I learned that when Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom (Matt. 16:19), He actually gave them to Peter: “You”, in the ancient Greek text, is singular, not plural. And the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church is founded by Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, which He placed onto the person and the revealed faith of the Apostle Peter. Apostle Peter, like Jesus, is a descendant of Abraham, and Abraham is the founder of our supernatural faith in God. So it has been there, back in the imperfect arms of my Roman Catholic family, that I have rediscovered the absolute truth of my youth.
The following week I met with my priest. He welcomed me home, listened to my faith-walk, and, at my request, suggested a graduate school. So six months later I moved. And here I am, in a Catholic graduate school studying theology -Who’da thunkit?
Part Six: Let Everything That Has Breath Praise The Lord!
But now four years have passed since I deactivated my nursing license. In that time my understanding of His will in my life has matured, and my resolve to do anything for Him has yet strengthened. I still clearly know two things: The first remains that the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. And the second is that it has remained true that there is nothing left to endure in life that can be more difficult to endure than the first 10 years of my traumatic childhood.
I have started nursing again, and have discovered that the Ohio Safe Staffing law is still being ignored by hospital administrators: it seems that not enough has changed.
It also seems very clear to me that this country is not in a financial crisis nearly as much as it is in a spiritual crisis. At the expense of the Godly well-being of others and of society, we covet an individualized definition of truth, and material gain at the expense of others. But I am no longer burnt out and disillusioned about this. Since the fall of mankind the world has been under the curse, and has been ascribe to the reign of Satan. So, why does intentional evil shock us: how is it that the intentional wickedness of others can still knock our breath out? Our breath gets knocked out because we know how stupid it is –it doesn’t have to be this way- because almost 2000 years ago the world was bought back with the sacrificed blood of Jesus Christ.
As my mom would say, “The proof is in the pudding.” So, precious ones, it seems to me that it is not enough to only say we believe in justice and mercy, for faith without works is dead (James 2:17). For anyone who knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (James 4:17). For when we believe in our hearts that something is true, we act on that belief. So let us repent, be baptized, and follow Him: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17, 28:16-20).