Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t cry over spilled milk?”” I have heard that statement all my life. Every time I hear it my heart sinks a little. I will explain why just those simple words cut me to the bone. When I was around 8 years old I remember sitting at the table eating a bowl of Corn Flakes – which, by the way, is the worst cereal ever!! My elbow hit the bowl and some milk spilled on the table. At any other household this would have been considered normal… but not at mine. I was literally slapped hard enough to knock me out of my chair and then thrown outside wearing nothing but my t-shirt and underwear. The big deal about that was… it was winter time. I stood in the yard crying and shivering for what seemed like hours. I was eventually let back into the house to get ready for school. I was made fun of a lot in those days. Not only were my clothes not in style, but I had to dress myself. I remember walking to the bus and my eyes were swollen from crying and I had a sharp pain in the back of my leg and right above my hip. My half brother, who had dealt out the abuse this time, as well as most of my life had shot me with a B.B. gun. I remember crying in such pain that the bus driver was afraid to even question what happened.

Going to school that day was also no adventure. I was sent to the principals office for my anger and received 3 days suspension from school. The exact words the teacher used was “this kid is nothing but a trouble maker.” I think back on that day and remember hoping that the teacher would ask me how my home life was or even that the principal would ask me why I had a black eye. I was so scared to tell anyone about what was going on at home. My father was an alcoholic, but he was also no protection for me. My half brother would beat my father the same as me. My father was a small man and since he abused my half brother as a child, the favor was returned when he got older. In school I would sleep in class because home wasn’t a place where it was safe to rest. I can remember one time my half brother holding a pillow over my face… that day at 8 years old I wished I would die! I was always confused and I honestly thought all adults were evil.

I have dealt with these memories for most of my life. Upon hearing the phrase “don’t cry over spilled milk” the other day, it inspired me to share all this in my blog. So how does God begin to heal such pain? He does so by letting me know that my pain wasn’t wasted and that He loves me more than I could ever imagine. I always leave you guys with scripture and this one speaks loudly. Love you all!!!

Psalm 147:3 (New International Version)
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.

Baseball & Band-Aids

Posted: January 27, 2011 in brianearleyministries
Growing up with a father who was an alcoholic and a mother who was mentally insane is not something I would wish on anyone. I remember the frustrations of not being able to ever have a conversation with my father and the confusion of my mother walking around saying things that made no sense at all. Keep in mind that through all of this, I was also being physically and mentally abused which certainly didn’t help things. I thought of suicide twice as a young child. I thought that my father, mother, and the abuse was all my fault and that things would just be better if I was gone. I would sit around for hours hoping that things would get better. The worse part was that I had no one to talk to. It only got worse when my mother left, never to come back.
Some of the worst times I had as a child were when I would see a father throwing a baseball with his son or when a mother would be putting a band-aid on her child. I know that seem’s silly, but those were the things I missed out on as a child. Even today when I see those things, it takes me back to my childhood and honestly, it still makes me sad. When I was 12 I asked to play baseball and, since we were poor, I couldn’t afford cleats. I had to wear a pair of Lone Ranger tennis shoes which was pretty embarrassing. The thing is… I didn’t mind so much that the other kids made fun of me for the shoes. What hurt the most was not ever having my parents come watch my games. More than being angry, I just hoped my father would quit drinking and that my mom would come back. My dad eventually quit drinking… he died a month later. My mother never came back.
Baseball and band-aids always remind of that pain I felt as a child. I think back on all the pain and can now see that my Savior was as always with me. I will leave you with a verse that always reminds me that God has always been the father of the fatherless. Friends always keep in mind that pain is real and sometimes it never completely heals. This is why we have and, will always have Christ to lean on. As always thank all of you for reading.
Psalm 10:14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

The age 7 I was locked in a closet for hours. My nose was bleeding and I was scared because it was total darkness. I was tired. Abuse is tiring and fear has a way of draining a person. I believe in my heart that this is why so many abused people end up taking their own lives – because they’re just simply tired. I remember that night and everything that happened so clearly that it even makes me tired just thinking about it. Abuse is something that is close to my heart mainly because I dealt with it in my early childhood.

I remember going to church and, I’ll be honest… I didn’t go to church for God,  I went to get away from the fear and pain of abuse. I went to seek refuge and to find some sort of love different from the love I was being shown at home. I listened to the preacher talk about God, but an abused child doesn’t really relate to someone saying that God loves you. I mean, as far as I saw it, God was the reason for my abuse.

So, if a person walks into church full of pain and fear from abuse, and that person can’t feel the love of Christ,  what are we, the church, supposed to do? How do we reach that person? I will be honest with you, most people in the church I grew up in wanted no part of my messed up life. I WAS that troubled kid full of pain and it sometimes came out in my actions. It was bad enough how teachers reacted to me – but now, the church was too. So what is the answer? How do you make this person with this wreck of a life see that God truly does love him and care for him? The answer is pretty simple: you let that person see Christ’s love shine through you. The lesson to be learned is this: Jesus loves no matter how messed up you are.

I finally saw that love when a family in my childhood church basically took me in as one of their own. The two daughters became like sisters and the mom and dad were as close to a mother and father that I ever had. They didn’t judge me or look at me differently and I was always confused as to why. I mean, they even accepted that I wasn’t that good of a kid and went as far as caring about my grades and my future! Even though I’ve told that family a hundred times how much they meant to me, I don’t think they will ever grasp how important they were in my life. You see, to them, that was just normal. They did what they did because they had a special love that lived inside of them. They carried that love outside of the four walls of the church. That love wasn’t trapped or held hostage by tradition or routine. That love changed their lives and they used that love to change mine. The seed they planted would become the base for my salvation.

As I write this blog, somewhere there is a child being abused. There may even be one in your church. I want the readers of this blog to remember that these children probably aren’t going to be able to understand God’s love right away. They’re going to need to see Christ’s love lived out in the lives of us. I challenge us all to not just talk about God’s love or go hear about it on Sundays… Rather, let us LIVE that love out in our lives.

God Bless,

Brian Earley

I Corinthians 13: 4-13

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Warning!! If you are looking for something super spiritual then your probably reading the wrong blog. I am writing this blog for those who struggle, sometimes fail, feel pain, are broken, sometimes cry, and at times feel like they’re alone and God is nowhere to be found. Truth is – He is around and He never wastes pain. I heard a quote from a pastor last week that makes perfect sense: “Do not fear tomorrow, for God is already there.”

John Chapter 8 (quoted below) showed me what I was missing in my Christian walk: LOVE. Sounds weird doesn’t it? I mean… I was a Christian for goodness sakes! Wouldn’t that make me a very loving person in itself? Truth is I was arrogant and proud. I had no clue who Jesus really was. I only knew what I had read and heard preached at church. I never studied the actions of Christ for myself and trust me, John 8 made me realize that my brand of Christianity lacked the most important element.

I have been in ministry for 6 years and this last year has definitely been the toughest. I had the honor of teaching the most amazing group of students a youth pastor could ask for. I wasn’t perfect and of course as I have stated earlier, I was arrogant and proud and lacked LOVE. Don’t get me wrong… I was always there for every student, and cared deeply for each of them. Then one day God stripped it all away and thats when my struggle with my faith started. I didn’t understand why God had allowed all this to  happen. I was frustrated, angry, bitter, and of course I kept asking that question so many of us ask: “GOD WHERE ARE YOU! I mean I’ve been serving You all this time and I’ve sacrificed all this time and energy and you just allowed all this to happen? How rude!!” Ok so I didn’t really say “how rude” but I did have an honest conversation with God and He never answered back! How rude! Months went by and I kept talking… even rambling at times. I pictured God up in heaven saying”Geez doesn’t this guy ever shut up?”. How rude! The more I kept praying and reading the more I started feeling my heart begin to heal. Psalms 147:3 tells us that God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. This was exactly what He was doing in my life.

Once my heart started healing I ran into old friends and new ones who were doing amazing things in their christian lives. They were feeding homeless people, helping disabled veterans, and much more. I was blown away mostly because this was normal for them. I remember thinking I was doing God a favor because I preached in expository form, or because I knew what the word exegesis meant. I mean I thought I was the man because I studied church history and listened to the finest of preachers. I never got outside of that comfort zone. I was trapped in religion between 4 walls and I really thought that was what this christian life was all about. I looked down on those who didn’t believe the way I did or those who didn’t listen to the preachers I listened to.

It breaks my heart to look back and see who I was. I honestly thought I had a deep relationship with Jesus. 1st Corinthians 13 showed me exactly what I was missing and what I believe the church is missing and that is LOVE. God is not impressed with how much we know or by what preachers we listen to. If we don’t have love it means nothing. We think having a coat drive is a big deal in today’s churches. Have you ever noticed that the people have to come to the church to get the coats? Jesus always met people were they were. He always showed compassion and the deepest of LOVE. Even on the cross He looked down at a group of people who put Him on the cross and said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” WOW what LOVE. I was lacking that LOVE and compassion. I hit my knees in my office and asked God to forgive me of such arrogance and pride. I asked Him to help me understand the LOVE of Christ and to share this LOVE.

I would love to tell you that this prayer happened months ago, but the truth is it happened just last week. I am so thankful now that I look back and realize God needed me to be on my own, broken and stripped of the things that kept me from learning the lessons of the past 7 months. God was there the whole time. I challenge you to ask yourself the question: “Do I LOVE the way Christ LOVES?”Thank you for reading and look forward to your comments and thoughts.

In Christ

Brian

P.S. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!



John 8

1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”