Morning friends,

Thank you so much for all your prayers while I was in Nashville and for Chris Moles and my workshop. We received so many positive comments from those who participated and our booth was full of people who wanted to learn more. Chis and I will be doing a free webinar soon on the things we taught so you can hear it for yourself. We’ll let you know the date just as soon as we nail one down and if you have any pastors or people helpers you’d like to invite, please do so.

I am way more tired than I thought I would be and I’m headed out to California on Friday to visit my sweet little granddaughters for two of their birthdays. I’ll post some pictures next week.

So, in anticipation of a hectic week and great fatigue I invited someone from this blog to share what God is teaching her. She’s learning to let go of the things she thought she had to have and learning how to receive what God has for her instead.

Trading Up

By the time I noticed he was missing, I wasn’t sure how much time had passed. Between the pool in the backyard and the road out front there were a myriad of other dangers to navigate for an 18-month old ~~ where was he?

Somewhere between somebody’s tantrum and my own exhaustion I had gone to the kitchen to get a “lolly” ~ the uber reward for some task well done. On our way to the amusement park certainly there was a sidetrack and now I was one kid short! Needless to say, I was one point short of panic. The open driver’s door to our oversized SUV, parked in the driveway, was the answer. There he was donning only his leaky diaper, his hands gripping eight and four on the wheel, one of them carefully clenching a lolly stick from yesterday covered with the many treasures of the car floor.

He had a bird’s eye view of the horn. “MOM!! I drive this truck – look!” Clock ticking, I grabbed his skinny torso not expecting his response. Hands gripped tighter to the eight and four position, eyes fixed firmly on the horn, and his tiny fist clenched that lolly stick for dear life. “NO! I DRIVE US! GET IN!”

“I can’t”, I replied, “I have to find someone to give this lolly to,” pulling his favorite treat out of my pocket. “I has mine!” he stated thrusting his crumb-encrusted stick out proudly. The absurdity of the moment was not to be wasted. I stepped back and got a bigger picture of the events unfolding complete with a voice that whispered into my heart, “Do you know how often you look like this? I have good gifts to give you, yet you want to drive your life and you can’t see over the horn… and then you sit there resolutely holding crumb encrusted sticks, stuck in the driveway.” HA! Got it! Thank you, Jesus, for teachable moments.

St. Augustine perhaps said it best in The City of God, “God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.” I don’t know about you, but in that moment and more so in the past few years, I have had to learn a lot about “trading up” – letting go of the marginal (sometimes miserable) to receive the magnificent. (tweet that)

It was so clear in the imagery of my toddler – I hold fast to far lesser things and strive for the impossible in my own power. Had he just “let go” of his “full hands” he would have experienced the benefits of a delicious new lolly AND a trip to his beloved amusement park – but no. He held fast to what he desired and what was comfortable. Oh my, how often do I do the same? Jesus desires to gift us with Himself. What crumb encrusted sticks is He asking you to let go of so He can give you more of Him and the enable you with His power to fulfill the greatness of your calling?

Below are three ‘sticks’ that He has wrestled from my hands.

First was unfaithfulness. Oh how often do I hold on to the things that keep me from gazing directly into His eyes? I can tell you this: my fleshly line of vision, like my toddler’s, stares squarely at the horn. I can’t see over the dashboard. Yet that often doesn’t keep me from repeatedly trying to drive the SUV of my own life … in a leaky diaper … with a crumby, dirty stick. Oh how often I replace Him with the things of life. What a slow process these past few years of having them wrested away from me. How thankful I am for a Savior that cares enough about me to continue to fight for me – the Victorious Warrior in my midst (Zeph. 3:17).

What are you holding on to that is obscuring your direct line of vision to Jesus, the things that interrupt His best for you? In my own life the easiest things to give up were not the most costly. The more costly were so intertwined with my heart that He needed to break it over and over again with His masterful hands to surgically remove them. Thank God for the gentleness of the Master’s touch. No doubt painful, but as He reminds us in Hebrews 12:5-6, He disciplines the one’s He loves. Truly understanding that He will NEVER act outside of my best interests, I am then able to more easily trust the motives of the Master – allowing Him to remove those deep, dark distractions that keep me from His loving gaze.

Sisters, I encourage you to plumb the depths of your heart for the “dirty sticks” of unfaithfulness that you are clutching. Can you ask Him to help you be honest about them? Can you, as painful as it is, relinquish them – or will it take the repeated wresting of His hands on your heart before they can be let go?

My second “crumby stick” was unbelief. Life’s early experiences laid a foundation of mistrust. It was safer to stare at the horn and drive my own life than to relinquish it totally to yet another who would betray sacred trust – no matter how faithful and safe He appeared to be. This stick was stuck in my hand for what seemed like FOREVER – truth is, there still are a few crumbs of control stuck to my fingers! Here is what I’m learning about the stick of unbelief.

It really is an accurate measure of control. We carry and use it to draw imaginary images that mask our insecurities. I loved being known as the “Mom who had it all together” – perfect house, kids, family, life. I loved homeschooling, my leadership rolls, board positions, creating 501c3’s – all in the name of God’s will. And a lot of it was.

However, I continued to ignore the underlying ugly. I used my stick of unbelief to cover it, control it, and then paint a picture of Monet’s Water Lilies while ignoring the mounting garbage heap that was accumulating in the corner of the frame. It took a long time and at a precious price for me to learn that He desired to take the stick of unbelief (control) and replace it with contentment in Himself. I often liken it to Mary’s oil. This unbelief has cost me nearly everything I have, as did her precious perfume. As I learn to lay that unbelief at His feet, and surrender it as a gift of honor, He will be faithful to honor me in return – with more of Himself and His blessing. Therein, I am supremely content – with less material wealth than I have ever had, but with the most of Him that I have ever allowed myself to experience.

Sisters, how does your stick of unbelief present itself in your life? How are you wielding it?

Lastly, there was a small but powerful” crumby stick” of unforgiveness. While smaller in appearance than the others, it was definitely made of oak, and very hard. I needed to realign my thinking in regard to the concept of forgiveness to plumb it more accurately with its biblical meaning. Having always been taught that forgiveness was non-optional for a healthy spiritual maturity, I realized that I had been actually letting go of offenses and perpetrators too quickly without processing through properly – forgive and forget was the message I had received from some well-intentioned mentors.

The problem is you can’t forget, and I believe we do a disservice to ourselves when we try. In my case my concept of forgiveness looked more like “stuffing” the offense in the name of righteousness. That, unfortunately, left a bigger stick of anger in its place ~ which led me into some ugly places. I let my perpetrators “off the hook” too easily without giving the situations their “due diligence.”

I never gleaned the fields of those horrific experiences to look for the lessons I was supposed to be learning from them. That left the door open for those experiences to be repeated at different times and to different degrees in life – all in the name of “forgiveness.”

That left me to take that “crumby stick” of false forgiveness and wield it against myself. I took the hits in the form of regret and shame. Oh how often I thought, “Why am I repeating these destructive habits?” Or I would fall prey to the ever debilitating lie of the enemy, “How could I ever be used by God after THAT?”

Honestly, I still struggle with laying this stick down. What I am beginning to understand is that the concept of forgiveness is a constant process that I need to choose to partake in daily. It is not a “one and done” deal. I’m learning that Christ’s love and my own regret and shame vie for the same space in my heart – but they are not able to coexist. Oh but my Gentle Savior – as He reminds me in John 14:27 He longs to exchange His peace as I give Him my worldly painful processing on the path to true forgiveness.

What I am thankful for is the fact that while I still have the tendency to want to cling, I am learning that I can with increasing confidence learn to let go and cling to His hand and His gaze. Truly, they are priceless ~ nothing compares. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the One I love.

And that toddler … he no longer runs around in a leaky diaper, but he did bid me to “get in his car” last May as I moved him across country after college graduation. What a privilege to watch and to learn of His unfailing patience as we let go of our “little lives” and “crumby sticks” and see that He truly is faithful to accomplish the good works which He began.

Friends, what is God asking you to let go of to make room for what he has to give you instead?

Posted in , ,

84 Comments

  1. Brenda on September 30, 2015 at 7:36 am

    I need to let go of my control. I have been divorced for over 2 years and until a few months ago I was blissfully unaware that I would ever want another man in my life. Finding out that this would become my heart’s desire was shocking to me after living 50+ years in some form of abuse from childhood up.

    I have spent a lot of time with a gentleman that I wanted more from that he cannot give. This has been painful and heart wrenching. But I must set him free. After some unkind things were said, I finally realized that I deserve better. Even if God does not decide that a husband is good for me, I still know that he will give the best gifts when I let go of my selfish desires. He is my true husband. I believe that to be true, forgive my unbelief.

    I love what the writer had to say and it has gone straight to my heart.

  2. » Trading Up By Letting Go on September 30, 2015 at 8:48 am

    […] Trading Up By Letting Go […]

  3. Pamela Brooks on September 30, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Thanks so much for articulating our ‘crumby stick’ relinquishing process. What a wonderful word pictures!

    The only thing that gives me the courage to give up my will, my way is to catch a glimpse of the ‘lolly-amusement-park-Something-Better’ satisfaction waiting for me in Christ Jesus ~ Hebrews 11:40. Like Leslie says in her ‘Truth Principle’ talk… It’s not enough to know about the love of God in my head, I need to take the risk, relinquish my will, my way, and experience Who God is as I step out by faith into whatever it is God has prepared for me to do…

    Little things, big things– everything has the potential to be transformed as we lay our ‘my will/my way’ burdens down and take His easy yoke. Including us! After all, He’s right there beside us in all Three Persons, willing & doing the Father’s will, inside of us, in the hearts of others and outside, in our situations. And wherever God is, everything always changes. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ will remain good news in my head until I risk betting my life on it, making my navigational choices with all of eternity in my rear-view mirror.

  4. Momofthree on September 30, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Choosing to forgive daily resonated with me. I have found that I have to do so each time I’m reminded of past hurts.

  5. Mary2 on September 30, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Wonderful article, thank you so much! I have all of those crumbly sticks + the temptation towards another awful one – self-pity, which for a ‘grown up’ grandmother is ridiculous – but God is being so faithful to me as He knows I am trying to eradicate the roots of these weeds in my garden, giving me insights as to why these things were allowed to grow in my soul – from the seeds of wrong conclusions about life that were sown in childhood. He’s telling me that the roots are old and withered now and the weeds can be dug up – how we both of us want them gone! It is a constant walk and talk of telling my soul what the Truth is, and turning my back on what the lies are – Lord, please keep me faithful to this task, as You are so faithful to me!

  6. Mary2 on September 30, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Come to think of it, this blog is a confirmation of the message God gave me earlier in the week – “Don’t wallow around in the quagmire of regret – Praise God instead for your up-grade – into more understanding and appreciation of His ways and His mercies” 🙂

  7. Vivienne on September 30, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I enjoyed this article very much and understand the process. I learned to let go of lots of things the Lord put his finger on early in my relationship with him. Even though the process of of pruning dead wood from my life was painful, I began to enjoy the fruit, the result; a much better more confident me.

    Then came the curve ball that I was not expecting and almost killed me and my faith almost lost. I know that I am avoiding intimacy with the Lord because of that curve ball and the pain it caused and it seemed the Lord allowed it, so in my mind I saw him as the enemy of my soul for a while – so difficult to endure that!

    I guess the next “thing” I must let go of, and am in the process of doing so, is my marriage. I sense the Lord has something better than what I have endured, for far too long, carrying a heavy yoke so that my shoulders are sore. That yoke needs to be removed from my shoulders so healing can begin.

    I need, once again, to rebuild the trust I had in the Lord; to know that when he calls me out of the safety of the boat to walk on water I must obey and not look at the waves. Only by following through and allowing the Lord to sustain me will that trust return.

  8. Mary2 on September 30, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Vivienne – I also have experienced a huge and unexpected curveball that very nearly killed me (certainly not what the “advertising” promised us in the very beginning). But in hindsight, despite all of the horror, I am in a place now where it all makes more sense than it did before the curveball – totally amazed that our Father can bring life even out of the very worst experience – can only worship the Lord of all creation who works outside of space and time on behalf of those who wait on Him (Is 64.4). Romans 8 v.28 and Genesis 50.20 are very precious in telling ourselves what the Truth is, even though we ‘can’t see above the horn’ whilst clutching those lolly sticks! 🙂

  9. Aleea on September 30, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    RE: Trading Up.  ―Thank you, whomever you are, ―thank you so much for writing this, ―so helpful, ―so insightful, ―so for our own good, ―even if we always don’t want our own good! . . . And as you say: “It is not a “one and done” deal.”  ―Amen, maybe it is never really over until we cross over.
     
    “Friends, what is God asking you to let go of to make room for what He has to give you instead?”
     
    . . . .well. . . .God is asking me to let go of doubt to make room for real love. . . . The Holy Spirit is clearly asking me to take my past and my atheist mother off of life support (figuratively). It is time to bury them because they are smelling up my life and no one wants to be near my rotted corpse of memories and decaying attitude. I must be the funeral director of my own life and bury them!  . . . But I so can’t let it go and the recidivism is always right there.  Even though I “know” I can. . . . I remember the first time I told my counselor “I can’t let go.”  She said “take my hand and hold on as long as you can.”  Out the door we went, down the stairs out to the parking lot and right to her car and as she went to get into her car and I realized she ―would― drive off down the California freeway with me holding on (―wouldn’t you! ―if not, keep reading, you will!!!), I let go.  “―See, ―see I knew, I just knew, you knew how to let go!  ―Aleea, it is as hard as you are resistant to the Holy Spirit!”
     
    . . .We know what God wants us to let go of, it is always fairly clear but we rationalize and say we can’t.  I adore the storybook Jesus (―the Christ of Faith), now that is the hero we ALL need, for sure.  The Jesus of History, what do we even know of Him outside of highly biased (written to convince) faith documents.  Here are some solid facts: The number of contemporary authors outside the Bible who mention Jesus? ―Absolutely zero.  The gospels say Jesus was famed throughout all Galilee (―a huge region).  Remember Herod’s massacre of all the boy babies two years and under at the time of Jesus’s birth?  ―Nobody in the entire region mentions either Jesus or various historical events like that, that the gospels record.  ―In Matthew, the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.…Well, maybe they did but nobody in the entire region mentions that.  Within 100 years of Jesus, Jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman historian, religion scholar, politician, philosopher or poet.  His name never occurs in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence.  Zero! Zip references!  Nada.  A ghost. . . . We know by faith? . . . . but faith proves all claims, everyone has proof of their faith if you honestly apply faith.  ―Are we not special pleading?  ―Is faith a valid way to acquire any type of knowledge?  ―Isn’t faith pretending to know things you really, r-e-a-l-l-y don’t “know?”  ―And yet, Dr. Meier somehow knows it is not even about all that rot, and I know it too.  That stupefying exercise is a numbing device but it seems so real because that is the way I was raised.  . . . So back in her office I get a lecture:
     
    Aleea. . . . Doubt is the sign that our faith has a pulse, that it’s alive and well and exploring and searching.  Faith and doubt aren’t opposites, they are, it turns out, excellent dance partners (―Counselors!!!!!  ―always with the bloomin’ dance partner illustrations, right!!!!!)  Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt, but in spite of doubt (―Then my commitment must be world-class status!!!)  A Christian who has never once suspected herself of being a charlatan must have some really shallow thinking. . . . . Jesus burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ surely we are also permitted doubt. . . . Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.  Faith is idolatrous if it is rigidly self-certain but not if it is softened in the waters of “doubt.”  Faith doesn’t mean you never doubt.  It only means you never act upon your doubts, right Aleea? . . . . oh my. . . I guess. . . . . 
     
    Dr. Meier . . . . . .Dr. Meier, the gospels would be a nightmare in a court of law.  The gospels are based on the worse type of oral hearsay: rumor and gossip.  They are legally rumor and gossip because they circulate orally for FIVE decades before they are written down and they quote no sources.  As you may know, Jesus and His disciples spoke Aramaic, a dialect of Hebrew.  The Bible’s h-i-g-h-l-y fragmented manuscripts are in Koine Greek.  All of the Gospels are anonymous in their composition and they circulated that way for 150 years.  These are not reporters embedded with the Jesus movement and their authorial attributions (Matthew, Mark, Luke, etc.) only come from church fathers writing late in the next century.  ―Here is the “GET IT”  ―All of the Gospels are anonymous in their composition and circulate anonymously.  . . . . So, some unknown folks, writing FIVE decades later from no one knows where said someone else saw something they heard about.  No one knows who wrote the gospels, from where they wrote them, when they wrote them and no idea how they know what they know.  They quote no sources.  Oral hearsay with 300,000 to 600,000 textual variants in the manuscripts we have.  We do not have full copies of the New Testament until 350 years after Jesus.  . . . . Take that into a court room?
     
    ―And yet, again, Dr. Meier somehow knows it is not even about that, and I know it too, it is a numbing device but it seems so, so real because, again my mother.  That week the prescriptions rolled in from folks at my church: “God’s ways are higher than our ways.  You need to stop asking questions and just trust Him.”  “There must be some sin in your life causing you to stumble.  If you repent, your doubts will go away.”  “You need to avoid reading anything besides the Bible.  Those books of yours are leading you astray.”  “You should come to my Bible study.”  “You should listen to ________.”  “You need to check your pride, Aleea, and submit yourself to God.” . . . . .But you know what??? . . . . . I just don’t know.  I hate reality, but as my mother always said ”Aleea, I hate reality too but it is the only place you can still get a meal.”
     
    Lord, help me not to be loyal to the ideas that my mother beat into me.  Lord, I don’t want to choose to stay where I am at but I do.  Lord help me to risk what I “have” to gain YOU.  I am choosing this supposed “safety” over YOUR Love. . . . . But the minute, the very minute, I stop praying back come the doubts: . . . . . The stumbling block should be repenting of sins, NOT seeing how little evidence you can believe on.  The test cannot come down to seeing how little evidence one can believe on because that would be a sorry gift to return to the creator of human intelligence!  The price of that ticket to heaven can’t be intellectual dishonesty?  I care if what I believe is true, do you?  ―Is faith a reliable way to reach knowledge claims? 
     
    . . . . And yet, I know in my heart there is no ongoing spiritual life without this process of letting go.  At the precise point where I refuse, growth stops.  If I hold tightly to anything given to me, unwilling to let it go when the time comes to let it go or unwilling to allow it to be used as God means it to be used, I stunt the growth of my very soul.  It is easy to make a mistake and say: “If God gave it to me, it’s mine.  I can do what I want with it.  No.  The truth is that it is ours to thank Him for and ours to offer back to Him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go of ―if we want to find our true selves, if we want real love, if we want real life, if our hearts are set on Him.  . . . . .―Anyway, the more I talk about it, rehash it, rethink it, cross analyze it, debate it, respond to it, get paranoid about it, compete with it, complain about it, immortalize it, cry over it, kick it, defame it, stalk it, gossip about it, pray over it, put it down or dissect its motives it continues to rot in my brain.  It is dead.  It is over.  It is gone.  It is done.  It is time to bury it because it is smelling up my life and no one wants to be near my rotted corpse of memories and decaying attitude.
     
    ―Lord, let me be the funeral director of my own life and bury those things!  Lord, let me feel your Holy Spirit’s power just swallow me whole as I let myself go into Your Love.

  10. Mary2 on September 30, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Aleea – in response to ” The Jesus of History, what do we even know of Him outside of highly biased (written to convince) faith documents. Here are some solid facts: The number of contemporary authors outside the Bible who mention Jesus? ―Absolutely zero.” – That’s not actually true – there is at least one reputable contemporary scribe of that time http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/is-there-any-evidence-for-jesus-outside-the-bible/

    Google and wiki are good for this sort of evidence finding 🙂

    • Aleea on September 30, 2015 at 7:53 pm

      Thank you Mary2.  I so appreciate that.  I have met J. Warner Wallace (whom you cite) and I like him very much he is a kind person but none of his claims ever made it through peer review.  J. Warner Wallace is a former policemen/ detective with no ability to read the sources he cites.  You can see, if you choose: On the Historicity of Jesus: by Dr. Richard Carrier going point by point with the “evidence” J. Warner Wallace cites.  Also, if you have time, see The Case Against The Case For Christ: A New Testament Scholar Refutes the Reverend Lee Strobel Paperback – February 15, 2010 . . . . Anyway, you can easily investigate that further.  I do not suggest you do that. Everyone can have their own opinion but never their own facts. . . .But as I said, I very much like J. Warner Wallace and asked him to pray for me.  J. Warner Wallace told me a couple of years ago that everyone —All the teens in his youth group he directed walked away from Christianity —every last one of them!  The reasons they all gave were all similar: They all said Christianity was not factually true.  . . . . I say IT IS true but God has set it up so that it is a leap straight off a canyon wall because the evidence is slim to none.  That makes sense to me because “without faith it is impossible to please God.”  The problem with faith is that it proves every religious claim if honestly applied but, of course, if we had evidence we would NOT need faith.  Here is the real core question I always struggle with: ―Is faith a reliable way to reach knowledge claims?  I remember asking J. Warner Wallace, “How could you be wrong?”  He said he could NOT be wrong, the red flag for not having investigated the claims personally or having an open mind on the issue.  That is like saying, well I have this “feeling in my heart” but the hearts of every other believer in every other religion deceives them.  Faith, honestly applied —no special pleading for our faith traditions, justifies all religions, therefore it can justify none of them.  If faith, honestly applied, proves everything, faith cannot guide you to the truth.  (I know I repeated myself, I apologize but that is a very important point)  . . . ..  “I own a car.” –no problem, lots of people own cars. . . “I own an F-18 fighter jet.” —I need a lot more evidence but it could be possible if you have lots of money/ influence.  “I own an interstellar spacecraft!” —I need WAY more evidence because I am not even sure that is even possible. . . . —Anyway, I just love the Christ of Faith, He feels so right and warm and true but I also realize that faith, honestly applied, can prove anything.  That is why extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence that scale with the claim. . . . If you have time, please, please pray for me.  I would so appreciate that. 

  11. Mary2 on September 30, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Hi Aleea – you have obviously done tons more research about this than I have – and you’ve come to know a lot of the right conclusions as well, (such as, if you had the indisputable evidence you wouldn’t need to believe)….. I didn’t actually read that particular link I sent you thoroughly – I was trying to remember the name of another eye-witness (beginning with J – something like Josephus from memory) – but I know I’ve found it by Googling in the past, just haven’t time right now to spend investigating like the matter deserves.
    I realise with teenagers walking away from believing – if what they see all around them does not ring true, they will leave because of thinking they don’t need faith in that their perception is that it can cause more problems than it can solve – and especially these days, there are vast arrays of options and distractions for them – we are thrown back onto prayer in a God who says He is real and asks us to believe and trust, by faith – this is where intercession is so valuable because God does work through the prayers of those still faithful on behalf of others who need spiritual sight but are not yet in the space to ask and receive it for themselves – I know my own experience has been dependent on the kind prayers of intercessors, when I was so oppressed and confused about how to make NT truth real – because of my upbringing I just wasn’t aware that this word ‘Faith’ was essential and vital – I grew up believing that if God was real and who He said He was then that was Life, whether one actually believed it or not – it has become so much easier understanding better the difference between God and what presents to our eyes as ‘life’. If you’d like to post an email address we can send intercessory prayers to each other and help each other in this way, if all of this makes sense to where you’re at? 🙂

    • Maria on October 1, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      “Forgiveness is a constant process that I need to partake in everyday”- this is so true. Whenever I think I have arrived and forgiven, something reminds me of the incident and I have to work on it again. It is especially difficult for us who are living with people that don’t acknowledge their wrong actions, deny what happened, or blame us for their actions. Also knowing that the offense will be repeated makes it difficult to forgive.

    • Aleea on October 1, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Mary2,
      Certainly and thank you.  It is Aleea_Rodgers@yahoo.com ―nothing is more powerful than prayer. 
       
      I am ashamed to say this but I will say it anyway because it is very honest: I have said so, so many times “I KNOW my Redeemer lives!” but that is really, really not true.  If I am totally honest I have to say: “I ―hope― my Redeemer lives.”  I cannot know that my Redeemer lives and I should not pretend to know that.  That is not honest.  Faith is pretending to know things I don’t know.  Maybe I should stop pretending to know things I do not know.  . . . . . Imagine a really honest creed: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath ―probably― raised Him from the dead, thou shalt ―most likely― be saved.”  When I am honest and real with what I know, everything seems reduced to just probability statements.
       
      . . . Oh, and you where referring to Titus Flavius Josephus which you can see the entire chain of custody that starts in the 5th century ―by the way, in Dr. Richard Carrier, 2012. Origen, Eusebius, and the Interpolation in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.200. Journal of Early Christian Studies 20: pages 489-514. . . . The Testimonium Flavianium preserved in the extant Greek is not the original text.  At best, certain phrases within it are later Christian insertions.  At worst, the entire passage is a later insertion.  These summarize everything we know: The Quest of the Historical Jesus Paperback – February 11, 2005 by Dr. Albert Schweitzer (Author) and On the Historicity of Jesus 2014 by Dr. Richard Carrier (That book, to me, is UNANSWERABLE) . . . . Mary2, I have seriously been looking for Jesus my entire life.  Some people lose their faith because God shows them too little, but how many lose their faith because God shows them too much?     
       
      Anyway, thank you so, so much.  I very much appreciate your thoughts.  My attitude is Help Me!  Teach Me!  ―I really care if what I believe is true ―and true, unfortunately, Lord help me, seems very different from what makes me feel good. Counseling has brought all this back to the surface, a crisis of faith.

  12. Mary2 on October 1, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Hi Maria – agreed. This is how I’ve come to look upon offenses in sight of a loving God – that when they are brought again to mind it is the Holy Spirit giving us the invitation to ‘re-frame’ them – and the offer from Him to walk us through. In this way, we can not let ourselves get bogged down in self-reproach for what seems to us like unforgiveness (as the thinking here is: “Well, if I truly have forgiven these things would not still be bothering me”.
    Instead, take the problem into the prayer closet and thank the Holy Spirit for this (repeated however many times!) opportunity to re-frame the situation because out of it will come increased strength and spiritual growth, and eventually our deliverance from “the cords that are too strong for us” (that is in the OT somewhere where God declares “I have severed Jacob from the cords that were too strong for him”………. For me, I know that severance from “the cords of the wicked” (Psalm 129 v.4) has been done in the Spirit, for which I praise our Father – however, the healing is still ongoing, but it does get better with time and trusting Him to work it out for our best and His Glory 🙂 Blessings,

  13. Mary2 on October 1, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    I hear you Aleea and have had my crisis moments too, very much so. Thank you for your e-addy, I feel we could both profit very much by a correspondence – I can tell that you hate pretention and falsehood and want the reality of God to be really real, superseding the version of believing that you were handed down – I have been (am) in the same boat, but know without any doubt whatsoever (you will discover why later) that our Father understands our struggles and is still there despite our – what we consider at times as futile/desperate attempts – to work out just exactly how to be, in order to do what we think/have been told we’re meant to be doing, lol! We need to buddy up :)…….

    • Aleea on October 2, 2015 at 7:04 am

      Thank you so much Mary2.  —I am completely numb anymore.  My whole life has been: now forget you are pretending and instead claim that you REALLY KNOW!  So I pretend to know things I don’t know about God and Jesus. …But Faith claims are knowledge claims.  Faith claims are statements of fact about the world.  Hope is not the same as faith.  Hoping is not the same as knowing.  If I hope something happened I can’t claim it did happen.  Teach our children to pretend to know things they/we don’t really know?  . . . Intellectually it appears so wrong but on the emotional level it feels right, warm, true.  . . .I have nothing to offer most here.  Most need very practical help.  They need to know how to file a restraining order; move divorce documents through a court system; file/ re-file tax returns; deal with paying bills; recover delteled files from a computer, et. everything. . . . people are just doing very, VERY practical things. . . Maybe that is because reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, IT doesn’t go away.  Those real problems they just don’t go away.  . . . .Have you ever noticed that there are no extensive arugments trying to prove the existence of puppies and kittens, I like puppies and kittens, —golden retrievers, labs, tabbies, bombays. . . I HATE reality, but I am forced to live there, in the desert of the real.

  14. Maria on October 2, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Aleea, I prayed for you this morning that God would help you as you struggle with these questions.
    I agree with you that there is not enough evidence to prove any of the religions and that finally it boils down to faith. But do we really need to see to believe? I can’t see air, so do I say that it doesn’t exist? I can see the effects of it though. As we go through life our faith gets stronger as God reveals himself to us. I am amazed at the unexplainable peace I have experienced during chaotic and dark times. Through other situations my faith has grown. At times I doubt, but He is always there for me.

    • Aleea on October 2, 2015 at 10:14 am

      Maria,
      Thank you ever so much.  I really appreciate the prayer!!!  I do understand what you are saying.  . . . .Do you remember a number of blog posts back Kim Fredrickson’s story RE: Building a Compassionate Relationship With Yourself?  When I listen to Kim’s talks on UTube, especially Self-Compassion in the Counseling Office from Western Seminary ―[oh, now, I am crying with tears streaming down my face] that is some kind of unseen power holding Kim up, absolutely (―after all that has happened to her!).  . . . Listen to her, how is that even possible?  I would hold that as evidence of Christ living in her wonderfully sweet heart but I am also a very emotional person, never-the-less, that is as real as it gets.

    • Janice on October 3, 2015 at 12:42 am

      Maria, accept my apologizes. I guess Aleea’s post make sense to you. I didn’t realize anyone was benefiting from them, sorry.

      • Aleea on October 3, 2015 at 9:01 am

        Janice,
        All my life, as I talk to people about Christ, they have often said: “Chrsitians appear as unkind and hateful as anybody else.”  Is Christainity a distinction without any real difference?  I’ll tell you what I think the difference is, you just demonstrated it.  Janice, you said you were sorry/ wrong.  Excellent Janice, good for you!!!  That is exactly what we do if we are Christians, if we realize we are wrong (I am not saying you are wrong, but if you were. . . .) we say so.  Good for you!!!!!
         
        . . . .Now, boring, long winded dribble. Yadda, yadda, yadda, Enough already, please. . . . . I feel that way when I am reading entire sections of the Bible.  The book of Numbers, unless you’re an accountant or a mathematician you’d tend to think the book extremely tedious maybe even long winded dribble.  If a discussion is boring to you does that make it long winded dribble?
         
        I will admit I am stuck on the TRUTH.  I want to know the truth.  I don’t want to play any games of pretending to know things I do not really know.
         
        “My faith is beneficial for me.”
        “Pretending to know things I don’t know is beneficial for me.”
         
        “Life has no meaning without faith.”
        “Life has no meaning if I stop pretending to know things I really don’t know.”
         
        “My faith is true for me.”
        “Pretending to know things I really, really don’t know is true for me.”
         
        “Why should people stop having faith if it helps them get through the day?”
        “Why should people stop pretending to know things they don’t really know if it helps them get through the day?”
         
        “Teach your children to have faith.”
        “Teach your children to pretend to know things they really don’t know.”
         
        So what is your passion?  What makes you feel alive?  What do you want to talk about?  If you want to find your passion, follow your daydreams?  Think about it. . . . God is all ALL about passion for what is possible, right?!!!  . . .and I would ask you to pray for me, if you have time.

      • janice on October 3, 2015 at 9:16 am

        Aleea, I think I am being too hard on you. I am from a different school of thought.

      • Aleea on October 3, 2015 at 11:12 am

        Janice,
        . . . .Well, share if you choose to. . .I am familiar, to some degree, with Functionalism; Gestalt; Behaviorism; Humanistic; Cognitivism; Post-Modern Deconstruction Demythologizing; Spiritualisms; Solipsism, et.al.  . . . . Anyway, I don’t know how my heart got so fixated on Jesus.  Actually, I do, constantly reading the gospels, over and over and over and over.  Jesus is beyond unreal and I will admit it is very much an addiction. It feels just like the “in love” experience. . . . I love you and I am praying for you (as well as for myself, obviously.)  Pray for me too, if you choose to.

      • Leslie Vernick on October 3, 2015 at 12:24 pm

        I think the one who needs your apology is Aleea.

      • Maria on October 3, 2015 at 1:05 pm

        Janice,it’s Aleea that you need to apologize to. One thing I’ve been convicted of after reading Aleea’s posts is that I need to pu in more time to study the scriptures in more depth.

  15. Mary2 on October 2, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I totally recommend you get hold of the book: Finding Faith, A Search for What Makes Sense by Brian D. McLaren – it’s awesome! I started reading it a couple of weeks ago after hubby had read it and pointed out to me a real simple diagram in it (p.99) that blew my socks off – explaining the full nature of reality. I’m only still half way through the book, but it has already done great things inside my mind and heart concerning what you’ve written 🙂

    • Aleea on October 2, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Mary2,
      . . . I looked on GoogleBooks at Finding Faith, A Search for What Makes Sense by Brian D. McLaren –on page 99 are you talking about: “Let figure “A ” represent all truth everywhere.  Let figure “B” represent the sum of all truth known by all human being.  Let figure “C” represent the knowledge of the person answering our question?”  . . . . If you are, yes, very much that makes sense to me.  We cannot know very much and that makes just about anything possible.  Possible is not the same thing as probable.  . . . . If you walked into a room and saw that on your T.V. was a monster tearing down a building would your first thought be (and I mean you no disrespect, I very much appreciate you)  “Wow, this is CNN reporting or would it be. . . Oh, not again, the kids left the T.V. on the Si-fi channel?”  That is the way I feel when reading parts of the Old Testament.   . . . . For me, the problem is pretending to know things I don’t know.  I don’t know either way so often Faith looks like an unsound way to make decisions about what is real, -maybe?  For me, my belief born of Faith is a belief obtained by consciously or unknowingly suspending disbelief.  If we don’t know, I would think it better to just say: “Listen, I don’t know if my Redeemer lives but I sure hope so.”  What I fear most about myself is that I am very emotional and I WILL embrace the irrational in a search for emotional support.  Faith is dangerous because it makes people think they have the answers when maybe they don’t.  You know, Mormons have faith in the Book of Mormon.  Muslims have faith in the Qur’an.  How does my faith in my Bible show it’s true, any more than their faith in their books shows that their books are true?  I had the daylights scared out of me for years by the doctrine of eternally-burning in hell and that automatically predisposes me to believe.  Personally, I love the “Kids Table” I don’t like the “Adult Table” of discussion where we have to have evidence that scales with our claims.  Anyway, I’ll look further at that book and I sincerely thank you 🙂

  16. Vivienne on October 2, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    For me, faith comes by hearing the word….and doing the word.

    In one the Raiders of the Lost Ark films, (the one with Sean Connery in it), the germans are chasing Indiana Jones and his father (sean Connery) up and across a mountain range. They come to a place where they have to cross a deep ravine and there seems to be no way to cross it but they are instructed (I can’t remember how, to just put out their foot, to trust that they will be OK. In the natural they are saying to themselves “that’s dumb, if we step out into thin air we will fall to our death” but in the unseen realm was a staircase and in desperation a step was taken…..low and behold his foot was supported. We have to step out to find out. We have to obey what God tells us to do in his word and in the unseen realm we are supported which over time you see and produces more faith. There is also prophecy, it is unravelling at an alarming rate right now – the end is not far away, possibly in our lifetime. God has revealed himself, in his word, in the person of Jesus Christ and his spirit can be known personally. Prayers are answered, sometimes dramatically – God cares, he is for us and not against us, he is here with us.

  17. Mary2 on October 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Wow – thank you Googlebooks! I had no idea it was possible to read books online in such detail! Honey, faith in the revealed God of the Bible is not irrational – everyone has faith in something, even if they say “I believe in nothing” that is still a belief! Do not fear believing God’s promises – as Vivienne says in her last sentence, he is FOR us etc. I’d sooner put myself in the hands of the greatest power ever than rely on my own ability (however awesome that might be, lol! – it will still end when my human powers give up and my human body dies!) God has proven His promises to so many millions over time except the spirit of this world (that does not recognise God because it doesn’t want to) is reluctant or refuses to accept this truth – but God is greater than all the opposition pitted against him! Blessings,

  18. Vivienne on October 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    https://youtu.be/zhkXmaEYMl4

    This is the link to the trials scene in Indiana Jones the Last Crusade. If you want to skip to the relevant bit, it’s from 3.18 onward.

    Enjoy

    • Vivienne on October 2, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      For without faith, it is impossible to please God.

      • Lori on October 3, 2015 at 10:15 am

        Vivienne, don’t miss the rest of that verse, Hebrews 11:6 “and without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Romans 8::24-25 ” For in this hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes in what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” In our English language we tend to think of a hope that may or may not happen. This hope is more confident. I think hope and faith are intimately related. There was a time I wrestled with the same questions that you do. I thought I needed proof! I needed to believe that what God says. It all boiled down to… Does God really mean what he says or not? The answer is either yes or no. I don’t think there is any middle ground. Do I believe that he exists, and rewards those who diligently seek him or not? Even when I doubt, which I believe everyone does from time to time, The proof is nice, but proof isn’t faith. Either he is exists and is right, or he is wrong. That is the decision we all must make. I have chosen to believe and have faith. Do I understand everything? Absolutely not! I never will!

    • Aleea on October 2, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      — Leap of faith – yes, but only after reflection.  Notice at 3.18 how long H.Ford tergiversates. . . . . But she who loves God without faith reflects on herself, while the person who loves God in faith reflects on God.  That’s it and it’s pure, radical choice, straight down off the canyon wall.  To so put yourself in Christ’s care that if He is wrong, you are finished.  I know that is what it comes down to.  It means the same as going beyond oneself.  The problem is that life can only be understood backwards; but we must live it out forwards.  Lord at some level I do believe, help my unbelief.

      Leap of faith without a net
      Makes us want to hedge our bet
      Waters never part until our feet get wet

    • Leonie on October 2, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      Thanks, Vivienne, that makes me want to get the movies & watch them again, they were fun!
      I am stressing these days about getting a job and all of these posts are helpful, I need to step out in faith, God has been there guiding all along. Sometimes he doesn’t give light or guidance until he sees we are moving & stepping out in faith!

  19. Vivienne on October 2, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Yes.

    It’s OK to have doubts but it’s good to move from there, to walk in obedience to the calling of the spirit, and walk on water….and when that happens, faith increases. I have experienced this, but I have also experienced years of desert dwelling, long and dark nights of the soul when God has seemed nowhere to be found. I have sensed abandonment, My Go, My God, why have you forsaken me? But because of past exploits, taken in faith, akin to throwing myself out of an aeroplane at 30,000 feet and hoping I can trust God to catch me….and he does! I am learning to trust God’s word above my feelings, even when my flesh and reason are questioning at the same time. Each test brings new questions, I never get the same test, so am not able to rely on exact results….each new trial needs a fresh leap of faith. I am encouraged by characters in the Bible. Daniel in the lions den, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnce, Peter walking on the water, Esther in her discernment and timing, Ruth’s faith shown in loyalty to her mother-in-law, David when faced with Goliath…..Abraham in leaving his homeland and giving up his only son as a sacrifice because God told him to ……these are all examples of faith in action. When I hear God speak to me in scripture, with weak knees I step out to find out. The only time things have not gone well, is finding myself in my current situation….but that isn’t over yet; I had signs along the way and my interpretation at times has altered as new events unfold but the end is not yet….I am still walking on the water, have sunk a few times but His hand is holding mine and I hope to give a good report when this season and current trial is over.

    Never give up!

    • Mary2 on October 2, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      I take great comfort for myself in reading your testimony Vivienne, thank you – my experience has been similar and God has been in it all the way through, – my concept of Him and His true nature and character has needed vast amounts of overhauling to help me to trust who He really is and not what/how I imagined Him to be (and then couldn’t trust that, of course!)

    • Elizabeth on October 5, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you, Vivienne. “each new trial needs a fresh leap of faith.” I needed to hear that today. I have been on a long journey with Christ, growing in trusting Him by leaps and bounds. Especially this past year. I have trusted Him step by step to move out of the state I grew up in and have lived in for 72 years. He has provided all the way even to the wonderful rental house while we wait for our house to be built. I would not be doing this if God had not made it very clear to go this way. As I look forward to this new home I want God to be glorified in it and to have no painful memories of emotional and verbal abuse. That is where I am stuck and fearful it will be like all the other houses we have lived in. As you say, I need a fresh leap of faith each day as I wait. Since He has lead this far He will continue to be in the future as well. My faith is based on the unchangeable character of my Father in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am blessed to know you all and your stories.

  20. Lori on October 2, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    What do I need to give up? Well for starters the stick that is the dream of an ideal biblical marriage. I love him, he loves me? You know the one that as a couple we show the picture of Christ and the church? Somehow I bought into the myth that if you do “everything right”, you will have the perfect marriage. I need to throw away the stick of entitlement. You know the one that thinks because I became a Christian as a youngster,and went to church all my life and just because I prayed for my husband growing up, married the Christian man who was suppose to grow with me closer to Christ and tried to submit willingly, I am guaranteed a marriage that honors Christ. God owes me nothing! I owe him everything! How I have fallen into that lie hook, line and sinker! I need to trade in my ” goodie-two-shoes” for His righteousness. I need to release the anger that comes with the knowledge that at least for now, my marriage is so far from pleasing God and reflecting Christ. I need to release my desire for perfection. God accepts me now, not when I have it all together. If I am perfect, why do I need a savior? I need to release the stick of fear, fear of brokenness, fear of being a failure, fear of how my marriage has affected my girls, fear of what my future will be.

    • Carly on October 3, 2015 at 12:06 am

      I went to a Ladies’ retreat in which we were instructed to take a smooth rock and a sharpie pen. Instruction were given to write a word on the rock and then “cast our cares upon him” so to speak. The exercise was to walk to the lake and throw the rock away. I wrote one word on my rock, “PAST”. It was freeing to throw it in the lake. Yet, I found it interesting how long I wanted to roll the rock around in my palm before I was willing to actually throw my “PAST” away. Once tossed (and prayed over) I am and have remained, lightened from my load.

      • Lori on October 6, 2015 at 11:09 am

        This sounds like such a cool idea, but can you really let go of the past until you have dealt with or justified the past in your own mind? The things that have happened have not only hurt me but my children. My son(23)completely rejects Christ, my daughter(22) has been told, go, leave the home because she stood up for me, another daughter (18) left immediately after graduation with great bitterness toward her dad and wants nothing to do with him, and my youngest daughter(16) deals daily with things. How do I help them if I haven’t come to terms with things? How do I know if I am acting out of bitterness, or is my lack of wanting anything to do with my husband just natural consequences? My husband claims bitterness has rooted deep in our home. Because it comes from his mouth, I don’t trust his judgement, however, I need to at least evaluate the statement am I bitter? For now I have not chosen to leave my home, however I am still in the early stages of things. I am still coming to terms with the idea that yes, the things that have been said in our home have been emotionally destructive, to all of us. Both my church and another counseling service have pointed these things out to me. My husband has quit and forbidden them from further contact with me. The counseling dropped me “for my protection”, but my church has been faithful at the cost of slander and legal fees. Right now my daughter and I continue to attend. How can I help my young adult children process these things, if I haven’t totally dealt with the past, or is it really just better to throw away the past and live for the future?

        • Mary2 on October 6, 2015 at 12:59 pm

          Lori, do you have a support circle of friends who can pray with you and help carry this load?
          We cannot bury anything until we know that it’s dead, and in the early stages of processing often more insight is needed to navigate the waters. The person who was able to do this for me – (I’d love to put you in contact with him, he does Skype counselling worldwide) is http://www.livingwisdom.co.nz. This man’s ministry totally saved my sanity and restored my hope and marriage, via which my husband is a different man than he was before our crisis hit. I pray our Father’s Spirit will guide you in all your ways and protect you all from harm with great strength and insight for the way forward.

    • Roxanne on October 3, 2015 at 12:15 am

      I have given up my right to be bitter. It doesn’t even occur to me. Abused women can often suppress emotions, so I never had many to start with. (Ha) Seriously, I was never the retaliation type. God blessed me with peace. I just jumped right into celebrating life in every possible opportunity that came my way, outside of my abusive marriage. Heck, I could have fun at a Dental appointment! Life was/ia so very free outside of my cage. I appreciate every single moment of life that I am not being abused!

      • Mary2 on October 3, 2015 at 12:56 am

        Awesome Roxanne – what a wonderfully positive attitude!

      • Remedy on October 5, 2015 at 9:09 am

        Wonderful…but how do you function in daily relationship? The result of living detached from the person and going on to trying to enjoy life has brought untold misery, accusations, intimidation, fearful verbal rages…on & on.
        Curious how you navigate it and if you have children, how what they see & learn is handled.

        • Roxanne on October 5, 2015 at 10:29 pm

          Remedy, I hear your pain. The suffering you describe is very telling. You outlined for me the strategies your abuser is successfully using to control you. Are there any nuggets of time when you are free from him? Celebrate those times fully. Feed your soul and breath deeply in the fresh air and non abusive people around you during those precious moments. It will make you stronger.

          Prayer is wonderful and I believe we all love and trust the Lord. But no amount of prayer is going to change the abuser. As my husband healed he shared so much insight into the mind of an abuser. Just recently he was talking about the attitude of retaliation. He (and other abusers) often feel that when you are out of control (i.e.: doing something you want to do), they have the right to retaliate against you. They think, “How dare that B____, disobey me?” Any measure is called for, in their mind, you have started a war. It all stems from the mindset of entitlement.

          Really, Remedy, I would not have ever dreamed of this school of thought, if my husband had not come out and told me all the workings of his mind while mentally trapped as an abuser. He has had to change the way he thinks now. It is a slow and intense process. The only thing I did to help this process was put consequence in place to protect myself. I was firm with him and smart.

          Remedy, I fear many of us love, pray and endure when all that does is enable the abuser to sin against us over and over again.

          Back to your question. Yes, I shed bitterness and seized every moment of life when I had it to enjoy. I just could not wipe the smile off my face when I was away from my abuser! I knew angels surrounded me and I used my mind to chose every possible positive situation to nurture myself. I spoke kindly to myself during “self talk” and flushed the nonsense out of my brain. I used the imaginary delete button I installed in my brain and moved on. I stopped trying to figure him out or fix him. His junk was his junk, not mine. (Sorry your emotionally messed up man, but I’m not.) I left when I was in danger and returned patiently with each new bit of counsel or intervention which netted behavioral change. No behavioral change, then I was gone again.

          • Remedy on October 6, 2015 at 8:34 am

            So Roxanne…you’re saying you separated numerous times to stand firm against the abuse? When he knew you were serious, he began addressing himself?



          • Remedy on October 6, 2015 at 8:35 am

            Also you didn’t mention having children and the effect of decisions on them. Thank you Roxanne!



          • Roxanne on October 6, 2015 at 8:58 pm

            Remedy, separated and fled with children. Children turned out great. Educated, Christians, married, have jobs and own houses, travel and serve in ministry. Did counseling with kids all along. Dad came clean with abuse and we all did family counseling as individuals and as a group. He realized he was an abuser, couldn’t figure out why. He was industrious to seeking counseling and various programs over and over. So I say, this is what a man did who wanted to change and yet, even someone who wanted to changed found it extremely difficult. It has been very, very expensive on many levels. When I read comments that people are hoping for change, I think it is extremely unlikely unless the man wants and initiates the change. As I say, even with the finest help and a heart that was retentive and a teachable spirit, it was incredibly tough and slow going. The reality is that it is incredibly rare that anyone ever over comes such a thing. I think one in a million might be realistic odds.



    • Mary2 on October 3, 2015 at 12:53 am

      God bless you Lori – it’s hard when the disillusionment hits home, but somehow God redeems it still – teaching us the way to release what we have always believed – if it’s still into His care – it may not make sense to us what’s going on but always it is an invitation to go deeper – not more of the same to be disillusioned again, but different deeper – such as we cannot make sense of ourselves to do it ourselves….. I agree totally, if we were able to do it all ourselves we wouldn’t need our Saviour 🙂 Blessings and strength,

  21. Roxanne on October 3, 2015 at 12:23 am

    I’ve missed something here. What are you trying to give up? I lost in your response. Can you give us a one sentence answer? Thanks.

    • Reality Check on October 3, 2015 at 12:37 am

      Sending you some tough love…. Can you please speak for yourself without hiding behind scripture? I am getting tired of the lectures. I find them self serving and condescending.

      Maybe you can set yourself free from self absorption by releasing your role as the self appointed theology professor on this blog. None of us have signed up for your online classes.

      My this sounds harsh. How could I have expressed this better?

      • Maria on October 3, 2015 at 11:44 am

        Reality Check, I don’t think Aleea is being self absorbed or condescending. She is struggling with some valid questions. She has a unique way of writing. I think she is trying to change her writing because of some of the input she has received. Let’s be kind to each other, especially since we know that many of us here are going through very tough situations.

        • Leslie Vernick on October 3, 2015 at 12:25 pm

          I agree. Thank you Maria for your redirect here.

      • Leslie Vernick on October 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm

        It does sound harsh. We can all use some tough love at times but I think we all have enough harsh words from people we live with – please lets not do this to one another. Name calling is unacceptable communication here. If you have a hard time understanding Aleea or where she is coming from express your own confusion instead of attacking her.

      • Aleea on October 4, 2015 at 7:22 am

        RE: Reality Check says “My this sounds harsh. How could I have expressed this better?” . . . Maybe you could try using some humor: Before you criticize, condemn, and complain about a woman, walk a mile in her shoes.  That way, when you do criticize, condemn, and complain about her, you’ll be a mile away and have her shoes. . . . But really, don’t appreciate me, I can’t live up to it, I’m far too broken (—but I am working on that; it is not okay to be broken!!!)  But don’t criticize me, if you knew (Misfortunes never come singly), you would instantly know I don’t deserve it.  But more than that, don’t you think it is best to criticize my ideas, you are just smearing me.  Ideas should be criticized, you attack my character.  And I’m so broken it doesn’t even really feel like criticism, in fact, I am praying about your concerns: Lord am I self serving; Lord am I condescending; Lord am I self absorbed; Lord do I hide behind the Bible; etc.  RE:Never try to STOP PAYMENT on a reality check!  Finally, you have lived some of life, there’s a huge chance that in both our cases our assumptions are wrong.  What makes you take your coat off quicker: the sun or the wind or the Bible?  —How about just be my friend and forgive/ pray for me?

    • Aleea on October 3, 2015 at 8:56 am

      Roxanne,
      Doubts and unbelief  -That is what I am trying to give up, periods of doubts and periods of serious unbelief.
      Thank you Roxanne, I so often lack clarity!!!. . . .and I would ask you to pray for me, if you have time.

  22. Janice on October 3, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Aleea Dear, this post is just long winded dribble. Yadda, yadda, yadda, Enough already, please.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 3, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      Aleea does write long, perhaps it’s her way of getting her thoughts out and you’re right sometimes it’s hard to wade through it to figure out the nuggets of wisdom or the question she is posing but again please express your own thoughts without condemning one another. If we are going to learn to live out of our CORE we will be responsible for ourselves ‘ You could have said, “Aleea, I have a hard time getting what you are saying when you write such a long post – and respectful towards others – “I know you mean well, or perhaps have a hard time getting to your point” but please don’t say it is “long winded dribble” That is disrespectful to Aleea, judgmental and condescending. Ladies – those of you who have been verbally abused, why are you giving it to one another? I do not understand. And I am truly perplexed and flabbergasted that you would do this when you know the sting yourself.

      • Maria on October 3, 2015 at 12:51 pm

        Leslie, I have noticed that I can be extremely critical and harsh. It seems only logical that since I know what it feels to be verbally abused that would be the last thing I’d to to someone else. But the reality is it that some of the bad qualities of the abuser rub off on us and we need to be very intentional about not behaving like them. We are ultimately responsible for our own actions.

        • Kathy on October 21, 2015 at 4:15 pm

          Leslie is right, but Maria has a good point. One of the first indications I had that something was terribly wrong in my life/marriage was when I noticed that I was treating other people terribly. I could not rejoice with them in their successes, but resented them. After much soul-searching and counseling I realized that my ex’s attitudes and behaviors had rubbed off on me. Any of us who have lived in these situations for a long time will need to “re-learn” God-pleasing responses (& I believe that the subtle emotional/verbal abuse is more devastating over the long term than the violent outbursts – because it’s harder to recognize). We need to be really careful that what we say/type to each other is truthful and honest, but not damaging or hurtful (like we’re used to hearing coming at us from our spouses). We’re all in various stages of the healing process – and some are just figuring out they need it… and need blogs like this. Thank you Leslie for all you do for us!!!

  23. Maria on October 3, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Aleea, you ask some very good questions. Today’s young kids are asking these questions and are looking for solid answers. Sounds like you’ve come to the conclusion that God exists. Now to answer your question of which way to God is right, if you can find evidence that the Bible is trustworthy, then you can conclude that the way to God is through Christ. I will email you with some links.

  24. Roxanne on October 3, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Oh, I get it now. Does doubt come from wanting to be in control?

    • Aleea on October 3, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Roxanne,
       
      “Does doubt come from wanting to be in control?”
       
      . . . .Hmmm that is worth thinking about. . . I have always felt that we are [in control] when we are [out of control] i.e. we have given up trying to control things.  Controlling seems the cornerstone of dysfunctional families.  After all, we are on a rock hurling through space at 67,000 miles an hour, what real control do we have?  I have always felt that our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.  . . . . Anyway, here is a typical, minor, simple example of my doubt —from this mornings reading, you tell me: . . . .Luke (who wrote Luke & Acts) has the ascension occur on Easter evening in Luke twenty-four but forty days later in Acts chapter one.  —Wow, that shows about as clearly as one could ask that Luke was NOT EVEN trying to keep the facts straight and didn’t expect us (the readers) to think so.  –Anyone who can change the story this much is just not interested in getting the facts straight!  . . . But I’ll think more about wanting to be in control and how that could fuel doubt because at some level that makes sense.

  25. Leonie on October 3, 2015 at 9:32 am

    We all need prayer for clarity and truth & then to keep it & love it. God can lift the fog. He is walking with us if his spirit is in us but after you leave the abuse or while you are still in it, the fog can be heavy and we find ourselves going around & around. My experience is that God does hear my prayers and does reveal truths from scripture and give glimpses of understanding that are so clear & obviously from him. My question is how do we keep it live there always?

    • Leonie on October 3, 2015 at 9:34 am

      I meant keep it & live in it always. I guess journaling when I get those moments so I can go back to them would be helpful.

  26. Mom24 on October 4, 2015 at 8:28 am

    So often times I can gather the wrong sticks in some type of tootsie pop bouquet. Not a good idea. I love the writer who said she enjoys life so much out of the bondage of abuse that she can have fun at a dental appointment – ha! Good for her! I would love to practice more of using the right sticks wisely. Trading the stick of bitterness for one of joy. Beautiful. I want to purpose in my heart to wield the right sticks!

  27. Leslie Vernick on October 4, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Aleea we are all broken in some way and this side of heaven I think we will always have broken pieces inside. That’s why none of us should throw stones at one another or even our abusive spouses. I think we can learn to speak our own ideas, feelings, or problem without attacking someone else.

  28. Kathy on October 5, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Love this! Thank you for sharing!!

  29. Lori on October 6, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    I am very thankful for three friends from my church who have helped to carry the load. My husband has bound them to some degree by a legal agreement that was reached between my church and him. I have never seen the agreement and they are not allowed to discuss it with me. This was reached so he would not sue our leadership for defamation of character These friends are still willing to be a safe place if needed, and talk and pray regularly with me, but sometimes I wonder how much they are holding back. We have started meeting with another pastor and wife whom we have known for a long time. I do fear though that this will only last as long as he agrees with their assessment. He has told them that they are not to split us up for counseling. I do want to say I am so thankful for my church. The church, our former counsellors, and now my parents have all said stay at your church. I know many have suffered at the hands of their church, l have not! My Pastor has endured a lot for sticking up for me and my church still encourages me to be there. I too pray that God will turn my husband around!

  30. Leonie on October 6, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    It sounds like your husband is firmly in control. You should go to your own individual counselling and don’t tell him if you are scared to.
    He sounds very scary, I hope this agreement between him & church isn’t oppressive to you in some way.

  31. Lori on October 6, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    It isn’t oppressive to me since it is between the church leadership and their wives, and him. At first he had me lead to believe that they were not allowed to talk with me at all. They have proven otherwise. I do not know what each is bound to, but because it was between them, I am not bound by it. He has told me I am sinning by continuing to go there and keeping my friendships with these ladies. My consequences are he will not give me any gas money since he doesn’t want to “fund” my sin. I know better and so far I can deal with that. There have been other so called sins with consequences that hurt but not mane. I do think things have been more in check since he has been exposed.

  32. Leonie on October 6, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    I would try and get away from him, it doesn’t sound like he is sorry or repentant for anything – actually the opposite if legal agreements are necessary for the truth to be suppressed, that is scary and a huge red flag. It must be so hard for you and any kids still in the home. Just know that you do not need to live like this. If counsellors are afraid for their safety and dropping you as a client, you must be in some danger from him. Let us know how we can pray for you.

    • Roxanne on October 6, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      I agree with Leonie. Why would you, Lori, need any “consequences”? Where did he get that word from? He is trying to control you with money and spiritual abuse through manipulation. Since when is he the judge of your sins? Who gave him the authority to judge you? No one!!! He is dangerous and actively abusing you. I think your church may be trying, but do they have experience with domestic violence and destructive relationships? You may say, He is not violent, yet that is because you still obey him.

  33. Lori on October 6, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    I currently don’t feel like I am in immediate danger. If I did I would take my daughter and get out. Last summer that would have been a different story. Last year I felt alone with no place to go if things got ugly. Now I know where to go! I pray I never have to put it in place. I still want my marriage to work out. I have said that if present counseling ends like the others did, I will seek help alone. It is one day at a time right now. That is the best way to make it through. I know there hasn’t been true repentance, He doesn’t think he has done anything wrong yet. I keep praying his eyes will be open. I am amazed at how many women have been dealing with the verbal abuse for 30 or more years. We have been married 27, I don’t really know when it started, but it is only in the last year that I have realized it was wrong. I am beginning to recognize the manipulation and control. I really thought he had that right as the head of our home, and I was to be submissive.

    • Roxanne on October 6, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      Danger is coming. It always does. His entitlement attitudes will blur clear thinking. You are an object to him, a possession, not a separate person. I know this is tough to hear yet it is the truth. Now that you are on to his behaviors, and he will have to change and or escalate his tactics to keep you in line. I am glad you are beginning the journey towards freedom.

  34. Leonie on October 6, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Roxanne, are you still separated or have you reconciled with your husband?
    By the time the abuser seeks forgiveness, the abused spouse is so fed up she could care less if the guy hung himself or jumped off the Brooklyn bridge, she is so finished with the crazy, the chaos, confusion & maltreatment – or at least I was.
    According to Lundy Bancroft it is really hard for an abuser to change because it means giving up entitlement to the best of everything and the taking advantage of every one in the family only for themself. Almost everyone wants what they want when they want it so to stop doing that is to swim upstream or run up the down escalator. Especially if they are used to using power to control and have everything go their way all the time. It is as contrary or upside down as riding that impossible bike in the blog from a few months ago or like Jesus says – for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. It really can only be done through self sacrifice or daily throwing themselves at the feet of Jesus and taking up their cross – basically finding the kingdom of heaven that Jesus came to show us all.

    • Roxanne on October 7, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      My husband and I are married and live together quite happily. The repeated separations were never legal separations, but rather instrumented by counselors and all communication was through email with CC: to the counselor. I had a separate residence in an undisclosed location. The difference is that he realized he had a problem and wanted to fix it. I did not tolerate abuse and still would leave immediately if there was an infraction. It is an interesting journey that I would never wish on anyone. Yet, as I say, I didn’t struggle with bitterness or self doubt. For some reason, I just always knew I was emotionally healthy and strong, the circumstances were difficult, but my very being was not rocked. I stood on a firm foundation, despite attempts by my spouse to knock me off it.

  35. Leonie on October 8, 2015 at 12:26 am

    That is so interesting & amazing that it all worked out. We need to hear stories like yours! Because if your strong stance your husband knew you wouldn’t put up with abuse and I am glad you got great support to help you do the right thing.
    You rocked his world and he realized what he would be losing if he didn’t take responsibility for the chaos he was causing and change! He must have been a believer and God was able to work in his life!
    I honestly don’t think my husband can believe that I was bold enough to go to police and have him arrested and put a stop to the terror he was causing in our family. God has been so good and I am free now and my kids and I can rebuild our lives. I am really experiencing the spiritual nature of this battle and sensing heavy spiritual oppression over me at times. At the time I don’t understand but when I look back, I notice that it coincides with things that he does that affect me like when he entered a not guilty plea in court (now there will be a trial) and also before he came into the home for an unannounced police escorted visit this past weekend. It went well and the heaviness and oppression lifted after church this week but when I experience it, I find it confusing and also astonished after it lifts and I recognize what it was and the spiritual nature of it! I don’t know if anyone else experiences this. God is so good and his care, leading and protection has been tangible over the past months! Thanks to those of you who are praying for the ladies on this blog who are experiencing abuse. It is making a difference and we appreciate it so much.
    I went back & forth with my 17 year old daughter a ll day because she didn’t want to come to our group counselling appointment. In the end she came. It was an important night where the topic was anger and I think it resonated with her and she was glad that I insisted she come. She has experienced a lot of the anger and rage that my ex (her step dad) directed her way. Although she cavalier about it, I think the counselling will validate her experience and help her understand and cope with it.

    • Roxanne on October 8, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      Lots and lots of counseling. Baby steps.

    • Robin on October 11, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      Leonie you are amazing. I see so much growth and endurance in your journey. I hear you as you talk about spiritual warfare and the continual battle we must fight. I’m weary of it and so want it to stop. But we must yield our swords and stay strong warriors for Him and our children. Bless your fight to win this battle!!!!!

      • Leonie on October 12, 2015 at 7:36 am

        Hi Robin,
        How are you doing now? I hope you are feeling better, not in bed with your back anymore. I am learning so much, obviously you have experienced some of these spiritual things too. My husband, ex now, has given himself over to so much evil in his life but I was surprised how I have been affected and am beginning to recognize what it is when it happens. Yes, our whole life we will be called to stand against evil and be a voice for truth & righteousness. Thankful God is my shield and fortress and I run to him in the scary times, and all the time! ???? I am always encouraged when I read your messages. I find I am able to process or have more understanding about what I went through in my experiences at the hands of my first husband also. God is good and it is thrilling to walk with Him in dependence when our own resources are gone/used up/useless… . He will keep us in truth and in his care! I hope your visits to court are over for now! I am thankful for his promises!
        Psalm 50:15: Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” 23: “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.”

  36. Robin on October 12, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Hi Leonie I have been thru a rough phase. Still in pain that puts me flat on my back some but overall it’s getting better. I pray it will heal soon. It seems to be a herniated disk brought on by trauma. My ex is stilt eying to get me back in court but my eldest daughter has stepped in and is helping me. He held off telling health insurance he was divorced so it made me unable to get new health insurance which complicated matters. The Settlement Conference was May 15 when his lawyer was suppose to file QUADRO for me to receive half his pension. His lawyer stalled and filed it Sept 9. It takes 6 months to process so that means they wasted 4 months and filed my address wrong which stalled it further so by the time I get first pension check it will be over a year without any support. There are lots of things like this he has done to punish me. The good news is I do have excellent support team and that helps a lot.its amazing how long an abuser will carry on after divorce. But I am very well. Each day I remind myself even tho he continues to complicate my life I am set free from what I knew when I lived with him. And for that I am very happy and peaceful!!!!!!

  37. Leonie on October 12, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    So true, what they can dream up to throw at you in court is not the same as living within abusive person every day! You are free!

  38. Leonie on October 13, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Roxanne wrote earlier : “The attitude of retaliation – abusers often feel that when you are out of control (doing something you want to do) they have the right to retaliate against you “How dare that b_______, disobey me. Any measure is called for, in their mind, you have started a war. It all stems from a mindset of entitlement.”
    This statement kept swirling around in my mind :
    This is incredible & shows how trapped an abused woman is – she is not allowed to do “what she wants” or even what she needs to – and if she does, her abuser will take action to punish her.
    I so clearly recall that everything was like squeezing water out of a stone – so painful & impossible.
    If I called a repairman to fix a leak under the sink, it was a major deal to my husband and he usually told me that “I like to spend money and was just looking for another way to spend money”. I would tell him, “no, actually my motive is to fix the leak under the sink so water doesn’t flow into the floor or damage the wood in the cupboard.”
    It was easier to put a margarine container under it and empty it daily than deal with his anger over the repair & the bill.
    (Remember, this is a professional, Canadian educated man who was living in the home that I brought into the marriage and he didn’t put any equity Into the home but helped himself to it several times in sneaky ways that made it look like it was to my benefit to facilitate this – for home repairs … . He always declared he had to protect himself.)
    I smashed the ice in the bottom of the fridge/freezer with a hammer every few weeks to deal with a fridge leak for at least 8 months before finally calling a repairman and getting it fixed. When the basement flooded twice, my husband forbid me from calling anyone. I wish I had been journaling all this when it happened!
    Now of course, I just call the repairman & pay him when the repair is done, no one assigns evil motives to me and there is no punishment involved. Praise God I am free from his torment! How ridiculous it was to live that way!
    Thanks Roxanne for sharing how an abuser thinks, it is so twisted that it is shocking actually – abused women are so familiar with the way an abuser thinks but others to don’t get it need to hear too.

Leave a Comment





Read More

Help, I’m The Toxic Person In The Relationship, How Do I Change?

Hey friends, I hope you are not just surviving this holiday season but thriving. But for some people, the holiday season brings up all sorts of stressors and bad memories. If that is you or someone you know, be sure to check out my latest newsletter. I just got back from spending five days in…

Read More...

My Wife Is Sexually Anorexic. Don’t I Deserve An Explanation?

Morning friends, What a whirlwind week I had. I spoke in York, PA for two days and then had the chance to go back to my old church in Allentown. It was wonderful seeing friends there and having a dinner gathering with my former small group. Monday I met with some additional friends and then…

Read More...

How do I know if my spouse has really changed?

Monday July 26 I’m sitting in a hotel room in the Wisconsin Dells. My husband is here for a national volleyball tournament and he is off with his responsibilities. I’ve been reading a lot this summer and I want to recommend two great books for you. The first is Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay….

Read More...

Ask Your Question

Have a blog question you'd like to submit?