Hi Friends,

I’m heading out to Dallas, Texas to be a part of a women’s ministry training in Logos Bible software. I am so excited to learn how to use this amazing program. I have had it for years but not being very computer savvy, I struggle with figuring out how to use it. I am thankful for this opportunity Logos has provided for me to be at Logos Boot Camp for a day.

Also my first blog, Is it Biblical, posted at www.christiancounseling.com. If you like it comment, tweet, and spread the word. I will be on there twice a month.

Today’s Question: I was in an abusive marriage for 22 years. Before that my grandfather sexually abused me when I was 2 until I started kindergarten. My father emotionally left me once I turned 12 and hit puberty.

Anyway, I am out of the marriage and my ex has remarried so that isn’t happening! I am not actively looking for a man. I am trying to let God heal the areas in my life that need to be healed. I have been in counseling for the sexual abuse but I am scared to death that I will find myself in another abusive relationship.

I also have a 21 year old daughter with issues because of the marriage and I would like to be able to help her more. Can you recommend any avenues of action for us? Books to read, etc? I am 46, single with limited income and no insurance.

Answer I applaud you for wanting to not only survive your abusive past, but to move beyond it. So many people stay stuck wearing the “victim” or “survivor” identity and forget that God has created them for more than that. You want to see your past as what happened to you, not who you are. It’s your history not your identity.

Here are some verses that I’ve been contemplating all month that perhaps you will find helpful in your healing journey.

“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see –such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.

Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else,

And he holds all creation together.

Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.

So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, And through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News”. (Col 1:13-23)

For me, the most important part of this scripture is “don’t drift away” because if I forget who Christ is or what he has done for me, I’m still living as if I’m in the kingdom of darkness. Satan wants us to forget who we are in Christ. He wants to make us feel shame and think we’re damaged goods or that we still live in the kingdom of darkness and that we’re not holy and blameless.

At times our feelings deceive us and it feels like that’s true. But it’s not. We have been rescued, set free and given a new identity. Because of what Christ has done we are children of light and now our biggest challenge is to learn to live like it. To not forget. To train our mind and our emotions and our actions to live in sync with who we now are and as we do that, we become healthier as people and have healthier relationships with other people.

You may not be able to afford counseling or coaching but you can attend a good church, get involved in bible studies and avail yourself of recovery groups like Celebrate Recovery or other good programs that offer help toward healing and wholeness. Working on your healing in a group setting gives you the opportunity to practice the very things (healthy relationship skills) that you are so afraid you lack because you grew up in the environment you did.

There have been many books that have helped me in my own healing journey. I would have never had the opportunity to talk with these individuals personally, but by reading their books, they counseled and coached me to take the steps toward greater maturity and healing.

Below are a few of my favorites:

Restoring the Christian Soul by Leanne Payne

The Healing Presence by Leanne Payne

The Gift of Becoming Yourself by David Benner

Thirsting for God by Gary Thomas

But this is a community. Let’s share with one another what books, group programs, or other inexpensive things you have done that has helped you grow and heal.

 

5 Comments

  1. Carolyn L. on August 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Leslie, I attempted several times to post a comment after your post, “Is it Biblical” at the ABC website, but was for some reason unsuccessful, so I'll just cut and paste it here. But before doing so want to plug your books… In addition to the few you list at the end of the blog, I encourage readers to get hold of as many of your books as possible, for I have found reading truth helps much in the healing process. Thanks for your willingness to speak the truth in regard to difficult areas many are avoiding to address.

    Now my response to your article at ABC (everyone go read it !):
    Thanks, Leslie, for this excellent, thought-provoking, and yes, very Biblically sound post… :-). It could not be more timely as just this week I encountered struggle with the response of a spiritual leader I respect highly as he confusingly practiced the very concerns you bring forth — seemingly drew hasty conclusions about something without first attempting to get clarity/all the facts. There appeared to be no interest to consider an alternate possibility to what was being observed and, instead, quickness to maintain the perspective already preconstructed in his mind. Thank you so much for speaking to this issue – rash judgment — and how the enemy uses it frequently to bring about confusion within the Body, especially within counseling settings. Those three critical questions at the end are jewels for all of us to keep in mind.
    So looking forward to how God is going to use more of your creative voice to express His wisdom in the coming days through this organization and website.
    Carolyn L.

  2. Cristi on August 17, 2011 at 3:08 am

    God has used many things to help me in my journey to heal from the broken relationship I have with my father. One book used was Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. Another is How People Change by Paul Tripp and Lane.

    Just recently I was able to meet with a Christian sister in my church. She has not gone to formal schooling for counseling, but she is certified and trained with the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (nanc.org). NANC counselors do not charge any money for meeting with you–it is their ministry to the church. We met once a week or bi-weekly for four months, going over what the Bible has to say about struggles in my life, who I am in Christ, and praying for change. I had "homework," and it was at times was a hard process to admit where my faith was weak or thinking incorrectly. But the end result was strength, encouragement, humility. I am so grateful that she walked with me during a down time, and helped me up.

  3. Gina Kell Spehn on August 18, 2011 at 1:56 am

    "A Grace Disguised" by Jerry Sittser is an incredible book on the subject of grief and loss. This book was transformational for me. I give it away by the dozens!

  4. Anonymous on August 19, 2011 at 1:13 am

    "For Your Own Good" by Alice Miller, (Hidden cruelty in child-rearing and the roots of violence). Don't know where I got the recommendation to read it from; maybe you Leslie, maybe one of my gospel radio stations…? I don't know, but all the books I've purchased the past 3 years have been referenced from one book or article I've read to another. And though I haven't really finished a single book (that's how i seem to roll…) I have found VAST AMOUNTS of help in several and This book seems to have many key issues that leave me stymied in awe of how I recognize myself/the beginnings of unintended 'violent' child-rearing, in them. I keep returning to the same areas of the book (page 65 for me!) to try to fully grasp some of the issues and figure out how to 'fix' my problems somehow, from here on out. A difficult read, to me anyway, but it was translated from German and is kind of a deep thinker for me. Maybe an easy read for others!

  5. Anonymous on August 19, 2011 at 1:18 am

    I just posted, but I can't wait to read that book called "The Gift Of Becoming Yourself" ! Thanks for the suggestion, Leslie!

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