Erika Smith grew up in an abusive home in which the parents claimed Christianity. She is still a follower of Jesus in spite of the way she and her siblings were treated by her parents and the casual “forgive and forget” dismissal she has received from churches where she has tried to get help. Continue reading “Did I do all I could for my siblings? (guest post by Erika Smith)”
I love it when friends of mine find their voices and speak. I love providing them with a safe space to speak about what God has done in their lives. This one is from my friend Ruth.
I’ve not ever been in what is considered formal therapy. Sadly the “biblical counsel” my church leaders and Bible college leaders gave me as a teen almost killed me.
“Never question authority”
I was raised in an environment where authority was absolute. Obedience without question was expected to be given to any “authority” in my life. I learned that they were chosen and ordained by God to communicate God’s plan and design for my life. If any authority figure pointed out anything other than unquestioned obedience on my part, I would be punished.
“Adults do not just sit around making up lies just to create trouble for children.” I heard that time after time. Continue reading “The best counsel I ever received—it’s not what you’d expect (guest post by Ruth Harris)”
A while back when I (Rebecca) was talking with some former ATI members (Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute), I thought about the devastation, confusion, and even anti-Christianity that has resulted from this homeschooling program. I said aloud to myself, “Bill Gothard certainly has left a tremendous amount of destruction in his wake.”
Then I added under my breath, “Many were defiled.”
I saw that he was the very root of bitterness in Hebrews 12:15 that he himself loved to talk about.
A thesaurus tells my story…
I read a sentence today that jumped off the page at me.
I just kept reading it over and over. It was like I was seeing myself in a mirror for the first time in years. . . . I was recognizing the true me for the first time in what seems like forever—noticing the changes time has brought. Not in a distasteful way, but a way that recognizes things are different and appreciating the beauty of the wisdom that has replaced the youthful glow.
What was it about that sentence? It was the word undiminished . . . so I looked it up all fancy like, in a dictionary AND a thesaurus. And there before me was my life.
diminish /dəˈmɪnɪʃ/ verb / 1 : to become or to cause something to become less in size, importance, etc. / 2 : to lessen the authority or reputation of (someone or something) / : to describe (something) as having little value or importance.
This has been my life. People at all stages of my life making sure I understood that I was of little to no importance, other than to serve their needs. It was imperative that I be reminded that I don’t matter and am profoundly insignificant, lest I step forward and (gasp!) shine brighter than my surroundings. I have been treated with such astounding levels of indifference that I completely believed the lie.
Now I was entranced, so I looked up diminish in the thesaurus and was blown away not only by the words that describe my life, but the antonyms that clearly show what I was promised.
Main Entry: diminish / Part of Speech: verb / Definition: belittle / Synonyms: abase, bad-mouth, cheapen, cut down to size, decry, demean, depreciate, derogate, detract from, devalue, dispraise, dump on, give comeuppance, knock off high horse, minimize, pan, poormouth, put away, put down, run down, tear down / Antonyms: compliment, praise
And it is the word abase – the suggestion the thesaurus said was another word with the same meaning as diminish – that told the rest of the story.
Main Entry: abase / Part of Speech: verb / Definition: deprive of self-esteem, confidence / Synonyms: belittle, debase, degrade, demean, diminish, disgrace, dishonor, humble, humiliate, lower, mortify, reduce, shame / Antonyms: cherish, dignify, exalt, extol, honor, respect
These words perfectly describe my childhood.
They perfectly describe my marriage.
But I am no longer a child. Soon, I will no longer be married.
So, do they perfectly describe me?
As I said, I believed the lie that I don’t matter. . . .
Until one day I didn’t.
It was a small event and one no bigger or more hurtful than the hundreds before it, but somewhere deep within my heart, the switch flipped. The dim light that had been shining in my soul,darkened by others too afraid to let it shine, broke through.
And that light illuminated the facade I had been living behind . . . the lies I had believed and the lies I told to create this false front of “all is well.”
I used that light to step out and start on a new path. It is my time to shine and declare . . .
Yesterday I published a synopsis of and response to “Helping Women with Child Sexual Abuse in Their Past,” by Zondra Scott, a teacher of nouthetic counselors (going by the name “Biblical counselors”) whose husband Stuart taught “Biblical counseling” at John MacArthur’s The Master’s Seminary and who currently teaches it at Southern Seminary (SBC) in Louisville, KY. I wrote this in light of the way “Jane” from The Master’s University says she was counseled after having been raped.
I emphasized that their style of counseling is one that they called “Biblical” but I’m calling “nouthetic” since that was its original name and there are other styles of counseling that are equally Biblical and arguably more so.
Though the details of “Jane’s” so-called counseling experience were of course unique, the overall picture looked eerily familiar to me. Continue reading “Here’s an abuse survivor’s plea about nouthetic “Biblical” counseling”