When I say “Here’s the Joy,” I just mean me, Rebecca. lol.
A year ago in the fall of 2016 when my first solo adult book, Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind, was about to come out, I panicked just a little bit about my blog.
“Augghh. I have to make a whole entirely new website for me as an author of adult books. That means I’ll be managing four websites, but I don’t see any way around it. I have to do it. Augghh.”
But I never did it, simply because I ran out of time before the book was published. And now I’m glad. I’m glad that what happened was a morphing of this blog instead of starting a whole new blog.
My “Blog posts” page shows how the number of my posts has ramped up. And still the ideas, suggestions, and speakers and writers to critique keep coming. The other day I must have appeared to be deep in thought, because Tim asked me what I was thinking about. “Blog posts,” I answered. “I have so many in my head and just need to get them out.”
My 2016 year-end blog post
At the end of last year I wrote a blog post (here) that told about the amazing opportunities of 2016 and the blindsiding events of the year that had left me doubled over with gut-wrenching sobs.
I anticipated that 2017 would also be a year of serendipitous surprises and blindsiding experiences. And that has proven to be true, of course, because we walk this earth, and some of us are walking in a dark valley.
The serendipitous surprises of 2017 included to my surprise having a blog that is gaining readers, which began, I think, in January. (Actually come to think of it, I don’t really know when it began, because it was only in October 2016 that I even put stats and a way to subscribe on my eight-year-old website. I know, pitiful.)
Anyway, in January when I was working on a borrowed computer because mine had broken, I wrote “Rethinking the idol factory: challenging the ‘idol’ construct as the explanation for all sin in the lives of Christians.”
Controversial blog posts
Taking a different perspective on some popular teachings may have been one of the more important things I’ve done this year.
Apparently many people were glad to see my response to Michael Pearl’s terrible counsel to abused wives in June when I wrote “Dear Michael Pearl, this is what righteous anger looks like.” With only three hours from first keystroke to “Publish” (which may seem long to you but was very quick for me, lol) this post was based on my understanding about righteous anger, which I had just been studying. I have another post (this one) that explains more about that—because there’s so much confusion about righteous and sinful anger.
To the offspring of patriarchy
My several responses this year to “Biblical patriarchy” (or whatever name it’s going under these days) have brought more people into my life through private correspondence, those who are glad to find a Christian from their parents’ generation who cares, those who are seeking counsel or practical help in getting out from controlling homes, and one or two of the ninety percent—the ones who grew up in patriarchy and then left Christianity altogether—reaching out to me for more about what real Christianity really is.
They are among the many amazing and wonderful people I’ve had the privilege of connecting with in 2017. (I meet people for coffee at Atlanta Bread Company so often that my daughter and son-in-law gave me an ABC gift card for Christmas, lol.) I hope for many more connections in 2018.
Speaking and training
There were another couple of things that happened in 2017 that I never would have expected. . . .
First, to my shock I was asked to speak at the conference “Developing a Church-wide Response to Domestic Abuse,” hosted by Joy Forrest of Called to Peace Ministries—what a privilege that was. When I spoke, I told about my own journey and did some untwisting regarding Christians and rights (there’s so much confusion about that topic!), which Leslie Vernick again asked me to guest post about, which is here.
Also, I was privileged to be the therapy partner for a week with a friend who was undergoing intensive trauma therapy (she told me she wants me to talk about this if it will help others). Being there for this trauma therapy, which you can see more about at this website here (link), was a bit like going to school, a tremendous education. But it was rough, even brutal, and my friend and I both suffered some backlash. I trust she’ll see the benefit in her own life, and I know it was good for me to experience.
So my life continues with unorthodox education and in-the-trenches training.
Hopes and prayers for 2018
I have hopes and dreams for 2018 that I’m trusting the Lord will help bring to pass. For myself, I’m praying for greater emotional capacity (so, for example, I won’t get so sick again when I’m a therapy partner for someone undergoing intensive trauma therapy).
And I’m praying for greater faith. There is such a crisis in conservative Christianity in the West—women and children (not exclusively, but especially) are being treated cruelly in the name of God; I’m still often flabbergasted at how so-called Christians treat others.
I’ve mentioned the 90% or so of the young people who grew up in so-called Christian homes who are walking away from the Christian faith and want nothing to do with it at all, and my heart groans for them. There are others who still hold on to our Lord Jesus Christ, but because they left an abusive environment have lost all or almost all earthly connections, especially those in the churches, to ignorant accusations of feminism and unsubmissiveness and rebellion.
What a mission field we have before us.
My prayer for 2018 is that there will be many more of us who will love these souls like Jesus. That He will raise up Christians who have a strong and deep faith, who truly know the Living Word that the written Word points to, who believe and have experienced that He is good and there for them.
That many of the servants of the true God will reach out the cup of cold water to those in our midst who are dying of thirst.
The Lord is great, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.
The Lord is good, and His tender mercies are over all His works.
We in the New Covenant never need to trust in our own works (because the arm of flesh will fail us every time), but we are empowered to do good works by the Living Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit of God.
So then, as Galatians 6:9-10 says,
“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
I hope your 2017 was one of seeing the grace and glory of God in unexpected places. I pray that your 2018 will be a year of growth and beauty. I pray with Paul (Ephesians 3),
that according to the riches of [God’s] glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—
that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
God bless you in the coming year.