If you know someone who can’t hold onto hope . . . yet

The other day I was helping a friend who was moving under extremely difficult circumstances. As she and I lifted a plastic bin onto a shelf, I saw this plaque inside and recognized it as mine. “Is that yours?” I politely asked. “No, it’s yours!” she said. “You lent it to me 4 or 5 years ago, remember?” (I didn’t remember.)

Continue reading “If you know someone who can’t hold onto hope . . . yet”

Maybe your bitterness isn’t really sinful: a video interview

It sounds radical, doesn’t it? And as a solid Christian, why would I want to convince anyone that something we’ve always thought of as “sinful” isn’t really sinful?

To be clear, I’m extremely opposed to sin! But I believe many in the church of Jesus Christ can end up putting “heavy burdens and grievous to be borne” on the shoulders of those who are already being oppressed, and I want to do my part to lift those burdens through the love and power of our Lord Jesus. Sometimes one of the first steps can be lifting that burden of false guilt.

As one commenter said in regard to the video below, “At first I was like, nah, but then I thought to persist and listen to what you had to say, and I’m so thankful that I did. Thank you for sharing this. It was really helpful. I truly appreciate it.”

Another commenter said, “This is amazing. I’m weeping.”

There’s a kind of bitterness that is sinful. And for sure, for sure, it’s really bad! But if you study every time the word “bitter”—or any of its associated words—is used in the Bible (the way I did), you’ll find there’s a whole lot more to discover about bitterness than just those few passages—eight, to be specific—that are sometimes used to tie people up, gag them, and tangle their minds.

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This interview with Natalie Klewja of Visionary Survivor explains more, with topics based on much more information available in the book Untwisting Scriptures. (If you want to read the RealTime comments and questions that others have left on the video—and leave your own—you can right-click on the video to get the link to go to the original site.)

When is bitterness sinful and in need of rebuke? When is it not sinful and in need of care? I hope these truths helps you on your quest toward full freedom and joy in Jesus Christ!

The other kind of radical (a guest post for Give Her Wings)

This  post is also being published today at the blog of Give Her Wings, an organization that helps and supports women leaving abusive spouses. Please visit their site.

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

Last September for my Birthday Reflections post (an annual tradition), I wrote about going down into the dark valley called The Valley of Weeping.

Today, though, I want to express my boundless praise for the gift God has given me in that valley, the people I’ve been privileged to get to know there. I want to shout out my thanksgiving to God for the faithful trauma survivors He has put in my life. Most of them were traumatized by people who claimed to be Christians, even Christian leaders. But in spite of that, these women are still following God, or longing to follow Him, in faith.

My heart swells in even thinking about them. I would far rather sit at their feet than at the feet of the most popular speaker.   

Many of them will never stand before a microphone and speak. Many of them will never write a book. Many of them will not have any sort of following at all, because they are simply trying to live their lives. If we take David Platt’s Radical as a mantra, Continue reading “The other kind of radical (a guest post for Give Her Wings)”

Why “moral injury,” like “PTSD” is a term that applies to far more than our soldiers, and why that’s important to all of us

I recently finished reading the book What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars, by Pulitzer-prize-winning war journalist David Wood (Little, Brown, 2016). When my husband brought it home from the library my interest was piqued because I hoped it might give me insight into why the abusive situations I’ve known about involved what seemed like a disproportionately high percentage of abusers who were military veterans. Continue reading “Why “moral injury,” like “PTSD” is a term that applies to far more than our soldiers, and why that’s important to all of us”

Here’s the Joy looks back over 2016 and looks forward

woman-looking-out-the-window-youngAt the end of a year, you might do the same kind of self-reflection I do, thinking over the past year, pondering it.

Thinking about any goals, hopes, and dreams you had at the beginning of the year that you actually accomplished . . .

And the serendipitous experiences and opportunities you hadn’t anticipated that gave the year its special moments of happiness . . .

And the opportunities you thought you were going to have that ended up not every panning out or being utterly disappointing . . .

And the events of the year that absolutely blindsided you, those that you never anticipated walloping you in the stomach. Continue reading “Here’s the Joy looks back over 2016 and looks forward”

A guest post on A Cry for Justice

When I want to write directly about abuse (exposing tactics and such), I’ll submit a post to another blog such as A Cry for Justice, rather than posting it here, because the purpose of this blog—talking about the fullness of the Christian life Jesus promised—doesn’t quite fit with descriptions of abuse.

But with the interaction with abuse survivors I’m able to have, I sometimes have observations to make.

So . . . that to say, this week I had the privilege of being a guest poster on A Cry for Justice. You can read the post here.

But I want to use this space to show you the important conclusion:

When Lydia read the draft of this blog post and saw the validation she received by the recognition of this crazy-making, ally-obtaining tactic, along with a hope of helping someone else, she wrote, Continue reading “A guest post on A Cry for Justice”