Morning friends,

Have I told you lately how thankful I am for you all? This community is an amazing group of people who are so engaged and invested in encouraging one another, supporting one another, praying for one another, challenging one another (in a good way), and loving one another. I am always amazed at the thought, wisdom, and care that go into many of your responses. I don’t take lightly the time and energy it takes to carefully read through each person’s post and respond, and I want you to know that it blesses me greatly.

Today’s Question: I have been a stay at home wife, mother of seven daughters and a homeschooling mom. My youngest is a freshman this year. I put her in a Christian school, which has been a very positive thing for her.

Can you give me some help with overcoming my fear of going out in the job force when I have not worked outside the home? I want to prepare myself to be able to make enough money to support myself and two of my daughters.

I have prayed for twenty-five years for my husband and that has not worked, so I do agree with you when you said until the person takes responsibility and acknowledges he or she is wrong there will be no change.

Leslie, I will be sixty in March. I am afraid, but I am willing to take the steps I need so I am no longer a victim of abuse. Please give me suggestions.

Answer: Good for you. It’s tough to come to the harsh reality that your marriage is not going to change and you must take ownership of the rest of your life and figure out what you need to do. Is it scary? Of course, it is. But if you face your fears instead of avoiding them you can get through them.

You mentioned you’re afraid of going to work, but you didn’t say why. You have worked very hard as a mother of seven including homeschooling them. It’s not that you don’t have skills to offer an employer, or don’t have a good work ethic. Are you afraid of rejection? Are you afraid if you apply places you won’t get hired? That you may not have the right skills? That you’re too old? That you won’t make enough to support yourself?

All of those things could have some truth to them. But you only face your fear by taking action steps, not by thinking about your fear.

So the first step would be to figure out how much you would need to live on if you needed to. Have you consulted with an attorney to find out what kind of support you would get if you separated or divorced? If you have joint assets, you should be entitled to half. That may give you a cushion to buy another home, or supplement your income, or put some into a retirement account for yourself.

Next, write down everything you know how to do. Do you know how to get along well with people? Are you a problem solver? Can you navigate the computer easily? What programs do you know? Did you have any education or a career before you chose to stay home with your kids, such as nursing or teaching?

You may want to read Tom Clifton’s book Strengths Finder 2.0 or go to www.strengthsfinder.com and take the test (select the 2.0 option) that will help you. There is a charge for this but it will give you greater clarity.

Taking stock of what you have to offer an employer helps you interview with confidence. It also helps you discern what kind of job you would do best. I remember when my sister was looking for her first professional job. She had stayed home with her kids and felt very nervous entering the job market after a long absence.

She capitalized on her people skills as well as her ability to organize and problem solve – which she had done with her four kids very well. She had no computer skills. She was interviewing with a corporation that was looking for customer service representatives. She highlighted her people skills and demonstrated those in the interview. They hired her, even with no computer background. What they said to her is this. “We can teach you computer, but we can’t teach you people skills. We get lots of younger kids in here who know how to do computer, but they don’t know how to deal with people.”

Third, make a list of everyone you know who works somewhere or who owns a company. Ask them if they know of any job openings in the areas that you feel qualified for. You may want to ask those who might have some status or professional clout to make a phone call for you to ask someone in HR to for a favor and give you a chance at an interview. Word of mouth recommendations can go a long way.

Ask someone from the above list to review your resume and do some practice interviews with so that you feel prepared to tackle the questions asked of you when you do it for real.

Make an appointment with a career coach or counselor if necessary to help you walk through these steps and hold you accountable. You can also contact your local community college. They often offer “return to work” help, career tests, and refresher classes that will equip you to be ready to go back to the workforce. There is also a great website that will help you learn all about computer fundamentals at a minimal monthly cost. You can take as many classes as you want and quit when you want at www.lynda.com

Go on-line and put your profile up on Linked-In and also search company websites (of companies in your community where you might like to work) to see if they have job openings or go to websites that host job opening.

For a good article on this go to http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2015/10/27/the-10-best-websites-to-find-jobs

In addition, there is many direct sale and home based business that you might be well suited for. It takes someone who isn’t afraid to talk to people and someone who truly believes in her product, but other women have made a decent living selling Mary Kay, or Essential Oils, or some other home sale based product.

I encourage to come to our CONQUER Conference in October. Click here for more details. You will receive lots of support, it will build your confidence, plus there will be two specific workshops that might help you. One is on how to build your own business even if you don’t have spousal support, and the other is finding your strengths and being able to use them to re-enter the workforce.

Finally, don’t forget prayer. God knows exactly what you need to do and the place you are to work. Bathe all you do in prayer and he will open the doors for you (tweet that).

Friends, when you reentered the job force, how did you face your fears and prepare yourself?

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41 Comments

  1. Finally free on August 10, 2016 at 7:26 am

    When I am scared to take the next step in something, I speak truth to myself. My favorite verses are Psalm 139:16, “…all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began” and Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His creation-created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them”.

    God has already prepared a path and a plan and a job for this dear woman. She is not hacking out a path through the undergrowth with a machete like an explorer…though it may feel that way. She is His child with a road map of prayer for He has already created the way so she can “walk in them”.

    She is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and good works were made for her…and that includes employment. I am grateful for her courage to take responsibility and think rightly about her situation. Keep going, sister.

    • Cyndy on August 10, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      Yes! Awesome verses and such hope we have!!!

  2. Survivor on August 10, 2016 at 8:18 am

    I am still working on facing these fears!! For the past 7 years, I have had my own home business but the past 2 years I let it slide due to depression from the situation I was in. Now that I am out, I am needing to get things rolling again, but that will mean getting myself out there in the business world again and even though I have successfully done it before, it is still looking extremely overwhelming and intimidating. I think one of the biggest obstacles for victims of abuse is fear of failure. We have been told for so long and in so many ways that what we do is not good enough. We are not accepted. We are never approved of. And when we make mistakes, our abuser is so mad at us that it feels like the whole world is mad at us. This makes getting into the professional world completely overwhelming!!! Not only do we struggle to believe that we can do well, we also believe the lie that a mistake is the end of the world……..

  3. Wonderfully Made on August 10, 2016 at 9:40 am

    My previous skills were in teaching. I like teaching and have been trying to get a teaching job for over 6 years now. It is frustrating since all I can get is subbing. I often wonder if it is my age. I will be 55 in the fall. They don’t seem to mind me subbing as I am frequently requested, but full time still illudes me. I have done long term( 3 or 4 months at a time in same classroom) I am now in the delema of do I recertify, in hopes of full time? To do that it requires probably 2 classes. Not bad but it is still money that is hard for me to come by. To sub I don’t really have to have certification. Should I look outside of teaching? I don’t have many skills outside the classroom. Or should I just give up? Sometimes it is very frustrating!

    • Robin on August 11, 2016 at 2:05 am

      Have you considered subbing full time?? I know some of the teachers here sub out of 4 schools and it keeps them busy plus it frees them up to pick which days they want to work!!

      • Wonderfully Made on August 17, 2016 at 9:18 pm

        Yes I have been subbing in 4 different districts in the last 7 years. My husband calls it a hobby and not a job. Some years I make more than others, but it really isn’t much more than minimum. I don’t know if I could get an apartment based on just subbing.

  4. Aleea on August 10, 2016 at 10:33 am

    >“Finally, don’t forget prayer. God knows exactly what you need to do and the place you are to work. Bathe all you do in prayer and he will open the doors for you.” . . . . . Absolutely, prayer is the most incredible thing ever. Prayer helps us transcend all the issues related to interpretation of scriptures (—manifold issues), prayer is totally other. . . . I really believe that God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them. God makes astounding promises to prayer and I am so trusting Him and praying for that for you too. —No person is greater than her prayer life. If we are weak in prayer, we are weak everywhere. . . . .Prayer says: Lord God, I am going to try to outwork and out prepare everyone I face but I still so need your guidance and strength to choose the good. Lord, I can’t make the right and good decisions without you; Lord I don’t even know a lot of times what those are (—should I even be in this career, this interview, this level of demands).

    >“Friends, when you reentered the job force, how did you face your fears and prepare yourself?”
    . . . . I have never been in that situation but things I have learned about facing fears like multiple all day interviews and preparing for many all day/ multi-day exams: . . . .Take personal responsibility for the position you find yourself in. Lord, what have I done to get here? Lord, what part of this is my fault (—Am I doing everything I know to do to fix it?) What am I ignoring? Lord, help me not to ignore the things you show me to do during prayer.

    . . . . And keep entering the fear gate. . . . . If I run from what I am afraid of, I run from everything I need to find. What is embedded in everything I am afraid of, everything, ―absolutely everything, I need to find. . . . Maybe figure out what you are most terrified of (—tests, —public speaking in situations where people are totally hostile, —all day/ multi-day interviews) and keep confronting it. ―That, I have found is the gate to growth. The act of moving toward fear and discomfort must be practiced regularly, if we want to grow and learn.

  5. Ann on August 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Lean into the Lord! One night a few years ago at my kitchen sink, I told the Lord I could no longer live this way with my abusive husband. I had had it. In those moments, He impressed on my heart, Bide your time, Ann, and I will tell you when.” When I looked up the definition for “BIDE” it means: to trust, to wait, and to believe — all the things the Lord was asking me to do for the next season. I did not have a job at the time – I had passed an office on my way to counseling every week for a year – it appeared to be a design or architectural firm – and that was my background — but I never saw anyone to speak to. One day, about a month before the Lord impressed those thoughts on my heart, another door was opened and I stuck my head in and spoke to the woman there. She was amazingly kind, and told me about the woman-owned design firm, with 6 women on staff. Weeks later, I saw her again – 7 days after the Lord told me to bide my time, he gave me a job there as the receptionist position opened up! It was the perfect 20 hour a week job. I definitely felt the fears being away from the industry and the computer for 13 years. But, it ended up being the best thing for me to build my confidence, gain skills and realize that I can still work successfully and continue to learn. The Lord has your job in His care!

  6. Anne on August 10, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    I am in the same situation as Survivor. This does not seem sustainable for long term survival; however, whenever my h refused to work (he still refuses AND he is able), I funded a few summer vacations by selling on Ebay—getting rid of stuff I no longer need and by re-selling stuff I found at yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores For the most part, I educated myself (http://ocsnext.ebay.com/ocs/sr?query=597&topicName=How+to+start+selling&st=6&levelHierarchy=2a1a1). I also had an amazing resource in the owner of our local mailing outlet—he answers my questions patiently and gives me lots of hints. Networking is an amazing resource that I try to use as often as I am afforded the opportunity.

  7. Anne on August 10, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    I know someone who uses this resource, but I have no idea how to access it…

    https://www.nationalable.org/who-we-are/about-us.html

  8. Anne on August 10, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Re: https://www.nationalable.org/who-we-are/about-us.html, the person who told me about this, explained this much to me but I have not verified its authenticity:

    1. you earn minimum wage, and
    2. income is not reportable or taxable.

  9. Maria on August 10, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    I stayed home with my kids for a few years. After I found out I was in an abusive marriage, I realized I needed to get financially independent. But my self confidence was non existent. My husband had put me down so much, I began to believe him. Although I was involved in campus recruiting in the past, I was extremely nervous about interviewing. I am in a male dominant profession in which technology changes very fast. I wrote down answers to common interviewing questions and practiced in front of a mirror. I landed a few interviews and used each to get better. I had a group of friends and family praying and encouraging me through this. I finally got a job with the company I wanted, but I was afraid- how would I learn what I needed to? And would my interactions with my husband affect my performance at work? Through counseling, l learned not to listen to my husband’s lies and instead focus on pleasing Christ. I asked for help at work, and people were very willing to help. Looking back, I can clearly see God’s hand in helping me get a job. Although I was afraid, I reminded myself that God would give me what I needed to do what he wanted me to do just like he equipped Moses to lead the Israelites. When we are afraid, instead of being passive, it’s important to step out in faith and rely on God to provide.

  10. Cyndy on August 10, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    When I was considering separating from my husband I asked God “What will I do for work? ” I had let my nursing license go long ago thinking I’d never use it again. The word that popped into my head was”waitressing”. I had forgotten that I had wanted to do that when I was young and never had the chance. I applied for several other jobs that I thought I’d be qualified for, including “serving”, but no responses. Finally I made a bold move to another town, applied at some restaurants and was hired at one of the first as a hostess. I loved it. After a while I transferred to another of the same restaurant and was trained as a “server”. My dream came true! I loved my job! After 2 months all their restaurants closed within 3 days! God made it clear He would provide for my daughter and I. He did! I never waitressed again but He opened the finances and opportunity to regain my RN license. Then He provided 2 jobs that worked so well together! One is heading me in the direction of a specialty that I love, but never thought I’d be able to do as a nurse! He’s REALLY good at taking care of us!! I’m proof! I have so many more stories…:) Expecting the very best for you and your daughters!!! He’s already prepared you and is going ahead of you!❤

    • Aleea on August 13, 2016 at 7:45 am

      That is really beautiful Cyndy. I so love to hear about those trusting God, especially with an attitude as positive as yours.

      God will certainly help us, no doubt but He also wants us to be future oriented and careful. . . . I fully understand why anyone would let professional designations lapse (—all the fees, —dues, no one enjoys spending money on professional licenses, —CE, et.al. become very expensive and time consuming). That said, retaking all those exams, CE, et.al. is really bad news, especially if you are in a crisis. It is hard enough when times are good. I would always prayerfully consider keeping designations (—even in inactive status), keep taking the minimum continuing education and deduct as much of it as you can from your taxes. . . . Usually, if you let designations lapse (—this is in general, I don’t know about nursing) exam prep classes are not deductible, nor are expenses relating to getting a license (—I know it works that way as an attorney). —And I realize that much of it is only deductible if a condition of continued employment (continuing education, for example), but you cannot deduct work-related education expenses if they are needed to meet the minimum requirements to qualify you to work or if the expenses will lead to qualifying you in a new occupation. . . .

      —Anyways, that is a huge discussion but the point is professional designations are hard enough to get the first time around and they are very valuable. I would think it prudent insurance to always keep them unless the Holy Spirit flat out directs you to drop them. Again, these licenses, designations, are doubly hard to reacquire if, God forbid, things get chaotic.

  11. Rachel on August 10, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    In our area, most hiring is done through temporary/staffing agencies who allow you to use their computers to brush up or learn new skills while they look for something that fits your talents. They can even provide testing to help you find out what your strengths and areas of interest are. Believe me, running a household of 9 people and homeschooling requires skills that are translatable to the corporate world. We also have a statewide department that assists workers in finding jobs and developing skills called Workforce Development. I would check to see if your area has either one of these resources available to you. Another place to check is your local technical college. Often, they have resources available to help those returning to the workforce. Ours even has a program designed to help you start your own business. If you are inclined to start your own business and don’t want to go the direct sales route, there is an organization called SCORE which is a group of retired or semi-retired business people who help small businesses with any number of issues they may be having. It’s like getting a business consultant for free.

    Another thing to remember is that a lot of businesses are willing to train someone who is willing to learn, has some basic people skills and shows up for work every day they are scheduled, especially for entry level, get your foot in the door, kind of jobs. So many of the younger generation don’t exhibit those qualities.

    You mentioned homeschooling. Have you thought of tutoring or offering other homeschoolers classes in something you know, say a foreign language or basic homemaking skills or balancing a checkbook or making a budget? We use the library extensively in our homeschool and our library regularly hires for library aides who can shelve and catalog books and other miscellaneous tasks. Corporate training is another area to look into since you already know how to prepare a lesson and teach it.

    A book that helped me a lot when I was trying to return to the workforce was What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles. Your library probably has a copy. It was first published in 1970, but has been updated almost annually since then. It is a wonderful resource for job seekers.

    Finally, remember that although some people may reject you, there is someone out there looking for just the set of talents that you bring to the table. The Lord will bring about the specific set of circumstances that will allow you to meet and begin to do the work He has planned for you.
    Prayers sent for His peace during your transition.

  12. Vivienne on August 11, 2016 at 3:46 am

    When I realised I had to leave my marriage and look for work I registered my CV on lots of recruitment websites plus I signed up for agencies that would regularly email job vacancies in the area I was looking to work. I was sent a list one day and became interested in a small chain of Hotels that were opening a new Hotel in my area of choice. I made an application and was invited to an open day where I was informally interviewed and they identified I would be suitable as a candidate for their Admin/HR/Finance officer and on that basis was sent to discuss the role with the Hotel Director during which I made it known that should I not be successful to please consider me for another role within the Hotel as I was very excited by their organisation and plans for the future; I also believed them to be a good employer. I was not successful in obtaining the role they identified for me but was offered a different job, that of Room Attendant which I had to turn down because it wasn’t offering me the level of income I decided I needed to fund my independence but I signed up for job alerts on the Hotel website. A few weeks later, I saw the Hotel was looking for a Housekeeping Supervisor and emailed the Director and asked her to consider me; she emailed me and requested I telephone her to discuss and when I did so she offered me the job straight away as she recalled how much she liked me during my interview. I had no Hotel experience before but I had been looking after a 6 bedroom holiday home with swimming pool and large garden, so my organisation skills in that area were probably key to my success plus people skills. I was fortunate in that after explaining I couldn’t make a return to my own home in England, because it was let on a short-term contract to a tenant, I was offered staff accommodation for a reasonable monthly rent that included all utilities. This allowed me to leave France and make a brand new life for myself back in my home country. I am still serving a probationary period of three months, the job is hugely responsible, I have had to learn so much stuff and while currently anxious about learning the Hotel’s computerised system am determined to grasp it so that I can feel less anxious in the future. Spookily my immediate boss is French and while she clearly knows her craft she can pour on the pressure, has been verbally abusive once (which makes me wary of her) but this is the foot in the door I need to claim back my independence.

    I am 58 in a couple of months, I had been away from paid employment for 20 years so I am living proof that with God’s help a way of escape is possible. Years ago, God showed me, pictorially via a dream, that he cannot steer a ship while it is moored in a harbour. However, if the ship pulls up it’s anchor and begins to set sail he can steer and guide….we just need to take some steps and trust him for the outcome.

    I am not 100% happy in my role as yet, partly because I know I still have much to learn but also because my boss can trigger me with her Gallic outbursts but once I am back in my own home (mid-October) I can take time to reassess my situation which will include finding out exactly how much I need to earn to survive, whether I can cut back on my 40+ hours a week and take part-time instead and/or look for a different role elsewhere. I have always said it is easier to get a job when you are already in one as that has been my experience. While I am not 100% happy in my role now, I have time to consider options and I know my boss intends to return to France in two years time so who knows…..if I can stick it out I might get her job!

    I would encourage anyone to just make some baby steps towards gaining your independence and allow God to steer you in the right direction…he will.

  13. Kat on August 11, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I left my abusive husband when I was pregnant with our 6th child. It was the hardest decision I have ever made, but I trusted His guidance and he has never failed me. I promise that if you obey God even if you are terrified, He will part the waters and take you to places of which you never dreamed. Devour His word and cling to his promises as you step out in faith. The whole chapter of Isaiah 43 is wonderful, but verses 16 through 21 have especially carried my through dark times. Remember to journal and reach out to friends, and if old friends reject you because of what you are going through, make new ones. Surround yourself with people who fully support you. God has a wonderful plan and future in store for you, one that will prosper you and bring him glory (Jeremiah 29:11 in my own words). You can do this!

  14. Kat on August 11, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Because you are sixty, you might be eligible for discounted or free classes at your local community college. Its a good way to brush up on computer skills or take a fun class that will help you through your grieving process.

  15. Christine M. on August 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    A piece of advice I have is check out the resources at your local library–and I mean beyond books. Our library offers some computer classes, career counseling and so much more.

  16. Robin on August 11, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    There are many good thoughts already shared to explore. For me I found staying in a very close relationship with the Lord, He was faithful to provide each and every need. He alone has the perfect answers for each victim of abuse, trying to begin a new life. I was a very part time piano teacher. I was very part time because it upset my abusive husband to have people going in and out of our home, after he retired. My counselor asked me what kept me from working more so I could gain some independence? Why did I submit myself to his constant demands ?? I thought about it and asked the Lord if I could bring on more students. Almost overnite I went from making a few dollars to making more than I ever had possible. I made an amazing amount the year I filed for divorce. It was a true miracle. God can do amazing more than we can on our own. I really encourage moving deeper in your relationship with the Lord. He waits for us to come to Him, with our lives and our need. Today I have more than doubled my income as a single woman learning how to trust God for every single thing I need, and as I heal from abuse.

  17. Marie on August 11, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Every post is so timely for me right now. I just applied for a job and it doesn’t work out but it got me to thinking what I can do and want to do. I know what I want my long term plan to be but its not time yet. I have two littles and right now I feel like I’m standing at the edge of a diving board needing to take the plunge (leaving the abuse). A know a job will come but it scares me to not have a job lined up nor knowing where or how to apply. It’s scary especially because in the past everything just sorta fell in my lap. Plus right now I want to stay home and I’m angry to have to go back to work. There is a lot to work through let alone my feelings of not knowing who or why someone would hire me.

    Thank you for all the resources I feel like I don’t even know where to begin!

    • Maria on August 12, 2016 at 6:29 am

      Marie,
      I too struggled with wanting to stay home with my kids and working. I think many women, who are not in bad marriages struggle with this. In my situation, working provided freedom for me and the kids. I feel like me job is a gift to us. It also provided me with a constructive outlet to negative feelings. For a while, I was able to work part time. As I write this, I’m amazed at how God worked in my situation. As Robin said, focusing on our relationship with Him is key.
      Another important thing to do is network-let people in your church etc. know you are looking for a job. Find people who are willing to critique your resume. There may be people willing to do mock interviews. I sent a few ladies who were really discouraged links to jobs. They are now working and their outlook etc. has changed. Keep trying, don’t get discouraged.

  18. Cyndy on August 13, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Yes it’s true that we need to be wise but the fact is we don’t know the future and we all make the best choices we can for where we are. My point was to encourage all of you that we serve a God who does the”impossible” when we don’t even feel we can do the “possible”. And He LOVES coming through for us! I could give many more details to my story but suffice it to say my caring Father was in ALL of it, and still is. I have experienced repeatedly that His yoke IS easy and His burden IS light. Its the burdens I (or others) put on myself that are heavy and”too much “. ❤

    • Aleea on August 14, 2016 at 6:08 am

      . . . . Yes, I somewhat see that now that you make it clearer. I missed those important points.

      “And He LOVES coming through for us!” . . . I guess I didn’t think like that because, honestly, I just always want God to come through with Himself in my life. . . . .God Himself —not joy, —not peace, —not material blessings, —just God! A new revelation from the King of Kings. A, what-you-do-not-yet-know-is-more-important-than-what-you-already-know-style, revelation.

      “. . . . His yoke IS easy and His burden IS light. Its the burdens I (or others) put on myself that are heavy and ”too much “ . . . . The things we do following Christ certainly are facilitated by the Holy Spirit making the yoke of Jesus easier and His burden lighter than continually striving to make ourselves acceptable to God through works. . . . And Cyndy, I am sure you don’t look at what you do in the Christian life as justifying yourself . . . but don’t you find sanctification a struggle, a burden? Sort of a “Oh, Lord God how can I have only made this much progress?” —too many hills to climb, —too many battles to fight. . . . Cyndy, I don’t know about you but just not allowing myself to become arrogant or resentful, it is a burden. I have enough sin-potential to level ten city blocks in every direction (—And if God let off His restraining hand, you’d see it immediately.) That’s how we know the Bible is true. It’s got a totally realistic position on what people are really, really like. If we lived in Nazi Germany in the 30s’ there is an extremely high probability we would be Hitler youth. I bet all of us. —Who would stand in the face of that? We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer. When Christ calls us, He bids us to come and die. Honestly, I can’t think of more of a burden but maybe I don’t understand enough of what is going on re: what-you-do-not-yet-know-is-more-important-than-what-you-already-know.

      —Anyways, what you have written is beautiful and I so appreciate it and more than that I assume, as with everyone here, you know something I need to know and I am listening hard enough so that maybe you will share it with me.

  19. Nancy on August 15, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Hi Aleea,

    I can so relate to your struggle that sanctification is hard, and I too am so very aware of my sin. It’s difficult to keep my eyes on the lamb which enables me to walk in victory- my eyes keep slipping to my own sin. And while it is so important to confess, daily, our sin to The Lord, once that’s done…

    It. Is. Finished.

    I read something the other day..”Do you usurp Peace by insisting that it submit to your common sense?” I know that I certainly do. I feel the need to have it all figured out, but that’s pride, not a need. What I really need is to “lean not on my own understanding”

    “The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still” Exodus 14:14

  20. Aleea on August 15, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    “The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still”

    Nancy, I love that verse, thank you so much. We do not have to anguish, be anxious, or be discouraged. I know no problem is beyond the scope of God’s sovereign care. He has promised to take care of us (Philippians four), make good plans for us (Jeremiah twenty-nine), and love us beyond measure (Romans eight) and yet I do “. . . . usurp Peace by insisting that it submit to [my] common sense?”

    “It. Is. Finished.” . . . . And no one standing there, at the time, knew the meaning of the final words He said. They were so blind and I am still often so blind. The provision has been made. He paid the ransom due. The way is before me and all I have to do is not massively, theologically, psychologically [structurally, et.al.], overthink it. It is finished. . . . . It is not theological, it is conversion, confession, repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness and sanctification. . . . to know and love Him better, and learn to really love others, as He designed. —Simply, to esteem what makes me holy over what makes me happy —that is the path.

    Nancy, I do confess, daily, my sins to The Lord. . . .I want my heart to be clean and broken before the Lord, and thankful, and humble. I want to be down low where the Grace of God can find me. —And I think it is easy to tell which way to move: All things as they move closer and closer toward God are so beautiful, and they are ugly as they move away from Him.

  21. Cyndy on August 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Aleea, I love your heart! Your desires are so delightful! I felt God saying not to answer too quickly “off the top of my head” because He has some specific things to say to you. So I’m praying and taking my time. But one thing I know is that He wants to show you how HE sees you. Ask Him to lead you to or remind you of the scriptures that speak TRUTH about who you are in His eyes– now– not before you came to Christ. That is SO important for our hearts! Can’t wait to hear of the gems He uncovers for you! Big hug!

  22. Aleea on August 17, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    “Aleea, I love your heart! Your desires are so delightful!” . . . . .Oh Cyndy, I can talk much better than I can live. I’ll trade anyone a box of knowledge for a cup of pratical application. I fully realize that to move beyond spiritual adolescence I need to really understand who I really am in Christ. To move forward in faith, I have to discover the identity that God has given me. . . . .We try to get to that in counseling. It is not easy. I have lots of defense mechanisms from my abuse. My counselor always says to me that it is only as hard as I am resistant to the Holy Spirit.

    “Ask Him to lead you to or remind you of the scriptures that speak TRUTH about who you are in His eyes– now– not before you came to Christ. That is SO important for our hearts!”

    So I did and I got:
    I am a child of God (chosen people)
    I am His bride (holy)
    I am His servant (belong to God)
    I am God’s friend (friend of God)
    I am an alien in this culture (alien and stranger)
    I am an ambassador (declaring God)

    . . . . Still it is so, so hard to be liberated from performance-based Christianity. As a child of God, I need to trust my perfect Father, it is so, so very hard. I do enter the presence of God anytime, anywhere. As His bride, I really try to live pure because He declares I am pure. As His servant, I try to serve gratefully. I do! As God’s friend, I do really enjoy being with God (—praying, I love prayer!) As an alien in this culture, I try to live differently and as God’s ambassador, I try to represent Him in this world.

    Cyndy, I think you are so, so right about identity. . . . . We CAN NOT live the life we were meant to if we don’t know who we are. What happened to me just took away any sense of my identity, and like I’ve said before, it gave me a sense of “floating in the ocean.” . . . . .How do I get to that place where God is better at getting to me than others. I know all our identity rests in the knowledge of who we’re created to be but it is so easy to want others to like us (—Why do I care so much what others think?)

  23. Cyndy on August 17, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Aleea, I love talking to you about this! It is so fresh for me and I, too am still in process! I didn’t read all. Will go back but want to respond to one thing first, as I have learned it: if I am a child of God, that means I am ROYALTY. Think of an orphan turned Princess. It is such a huge shift in mindset and culture that I have to “soak” in this Truth often. Think of all the rights, the access to the King (my Daddy no less!), the authority, the riches…let your imagination go. The Princess expects so much more than an orphan, and rightly so! We are RICH! That’s a whole other study in itself! And we can say to any bully (even our own sin nature) who has no authority or power “My Dad is the King of the Universe!” And they know that means they had better watch their step because that King (my Dad) has all authority and power and will use it on my behalf as His beloved daughter! I have experienced this and He knows I continually need reminders! Our faith in our GOOD and POWERFUL King Papa is a process…one tiny step at a time sometimes. And that doesn’t both Him at all. ❤

    • Aleea on August 18, 2016 at 6:56 am

      “The Princess expects so much more than an orphan, and rightly so! We are RICH!” . . . . —Cyndy, I theoretically understand that, but I guess I don’t fully believe it. I have nothing to offer God or the Lord but I know I can be with Him, anytime. Imagine that, the Author and Creator of all the universe will listen to me and I don’t have to wait in a line! Second Corinthians Six. . . . poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. How do I get that out of the pews and into the streets, so to speak?

      I don’t want to fully believe what God says because. . . Because I don’t view God as totally safe? My mother abused the love (—weakness from her perspective) I showed her and God is massively more powerful, resourceful than my mother and He can totally abuse any weakness I show Him (—I know He already knows my weaknesses but this is not totally about logic or I wouldn’t have these problems.) . . .So, I trust God a little but I am ready, —always, to deconstruct, demythologize and de-weaponize Him when I don’t feel safe. . . .

      “And we can say to any bully (even our own sin nature) who has no authority or power. . .” . . . . It really feels good to speak that way. “Sin you have NO power over me!” It feels wonderful. . . .But think about it with me, I can’t just start believing that I am Napoleon, can I? . . .Anyways, I am so attracted to this type of verbiage (“Sin you have NO power over me!”) It feels powerful. . . . Lord I have no power over this, help me lest I drown.

      . . . And all this works just like love doesn’t it? I can’t force myself to believe stuff, it has to be discovered, or co-created, me and the Lord. Love puts everything in perspective; it enables me to say ”This doesn’t matter” or ”This matters and I will risk everything for it”. . . .Jesus always caused scandals in the name of love because people were —way— more important to Him than venerable institutions and religious dogma. . . . . —And I guess that is why “reason” can serve a healthy purpose only when it plays a secondary role. All I know is nothing compared to all that there is to be known. I don’t care about being right, above all, I just want to know God’s love, period. I am insufficiency and ignorance, in the final analysis, afraid and weak. I also understand that what I do not yet know is far more important than what I already know, so I am really eager to learn, grow, take personal responsibility and I am grateful despite my psychological suffering (—my mother’s abuse). I really try to pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.

  24. Cyndy on August 18, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Aleea, our King Papa hears your heart! He will come for you. You just keep looking to Him. Have you ever read “The Princess and the Goblin” by George MacDonald, or “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S.Lewis? These kinds of stories were powerful tools God used in my heart to help me believe the truth about myself. ❤

    • Cyndy on August 18, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      And about Him and how He is with me.

    • Aleea on August 19, 2016 at 5:00 am

      Hello Cyndy,

      —Wow, you know what Cyndy? . . . . my counselor loves those books (George MacDonald being an earlier version of C.S.Lewis). She had me read everything from “The Light Princess” by George MacDonald, to “The Silver Chair” by C.S.Lewis. I understood what she was trying to do: by-pass my head and go right into my heart. —And I just love heart talk like that!!! I so hear you. . . . .But, hellfire & brimstone my mind would NOT let go of the strong rational reasoning abilities God gave us to survive and my mind was just deconstructing everything in its path after many of the books. —And I fully understand how those fairtales can be MORE real than real. Psychoanalytically I get that, writ-large. Even things in the Bible that are not historically true can be MORE true than true.

      Open hearts are wonderful but open minds are willing to question. . . . We can not let tradition becomes our security because when the mind is secure it is in decay. The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear. My mind would go to work on faith as a language-game and would, as we say in court, conclude: “What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.” . . . . But, Cyndy, I am not willing to accept that either because it allows me to avoid personal responsibility and accountability. I’m not falling for that. —I am accountable, period. . . . And, Cyndy I know I so need God’s guidance and strength to choose the good. I simply can not make the right and good decisions without God.

      Now, switching to just pure, non-logic emotion. . . . Jesus is the best in love experience ever. You know what I am talking about if you pray and worship a lot. I need forgiveness and I want tenderness and love in my life and, again, Jesus is like the best in love experience ever! What else is out there? I see from the lives of those who have lived life their own way and I see the tremendous price they have paid. I know I don’t want to be like that. Christ will keep you in love with Him because, generally, you will love the person you become when He is with you. —And practically, I work a lot on Bible knowledge and doctrine but Jesus is still a total in love experience. . . .That does not mean anything is easy. Jesus lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end, all his disciples deserted him. On the cross he was utterly alone, even God forsook God surrounded by evildoers and mockers. We can’t live in the seclusion of a cloistered life. We all are out in the thick of it because the kingdom is to be in the midst of our enemies (—I hate that but God knows why we need that).

      One very difficult aspect of sin is that my sin never feels like sin to me. My sin feels like life to me, plain and simple. My heart is an idol factory, and my mind is an excuse-making factory. . . .And I am so humbled by acknowledging the fear that often drives me, and by admitting the emptiness that I cannot resolve, by realizing that often the way I relate impacts no one deeply, and bowing low in brokenness before God over all that. . . . .I am scared, empty, failing, and broken, but grateful to God as a forgiven sinner, who with the help of Jesus Christ is willing to become whoever God wants me to be and move toward others however God leads me to move by living the new way of the Holy Spirit. . . . —And, of course, every place where us Christians hang out would be places of greater intimacy and growth in Christ if people stopped lying about what we need, what we fear, where we fail, and how we sin. —I do it too. So, I have to learn the first rule of repentance constantly: repentance requires greater intimacy with God than with my sin. How much greater? . . . . Cyndy, I don’t know but I’m going to say the size of a mustard seed. Repentance requires that I draw near to Jesus, no matter what. —And sometimes I have to crawl there on my hands and knees. Repentance is no fun but a life outside of Christ is both hard and frightening; a life in Christ has really hard edges and massive deep, dark valleys of unknowing, but it is purposeful even when painful. —Again, I do understand how those fairtales can be more real than real and even things in the Bible that are not historically true can be way MORE true than true. As always, I am open to being totally wrong because I understand that what I do not yet know is far more important than what I already know, so I am really eager to learn, grow, take personal responsibility and I am grateful despite my psychological suffering (—my mother’s abuse).

      “He will come for you. You just keep looking to Him.” —That is beautiful and I am. . . . Unchanging consuming Fire, lift me up from all this epistemology mire!!! . . . It has very little to do with knowledge, it is about simply choosing the good. I did learn that from all that George MacDonald.

  25. Nancy on August 19, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Hello Dear Aleea,

    Are you part of some kind of recovery group? It’s a necessary step.

    • Aleea on August 20, 2016 at 8:22 am

      —Thank you Nancy!

      . . . .No, I am not part of any kind of recovery group. I assumed my counselors would have already suggested that if they thought it was necessary. I should ask them and I will ask them.

      “It’s a necessary step.” . . . . . It sounds like a wonderful thing even if it is not necessary. I don’t know how to fit it into my schedule but . . . .In counseling, we are so deep into my childhood grief work, that we are starting to –finally, reclaim parts of my inner child. —Maybe. . . .I am just guessing, but maybe they don’t want me to re-tramatize anything. I so easily flip back into resentment and distrust.

      I think the childhood abuse that was inflicted (—I always talk about my mother but they claim it was my father too.) on me is, I think, being properly validated and grieved but I am lonely, no doubt. I will tell you what you probably already know: Forgiveness isn’t an intellectual concept or an airy-fairy idea. It’s a horribly painstaking process. Gradually letting go of all my poisonous, toxic feelings toward my mother that are trapped in my mind and body. I feel that, in counseling, I am getting lots of Godly, healthy and non-shaming mirroring. . . . but I would love a real, live highly emotionally intelligent and effective recovery group that had my best interests at heart. Do you know of any? . . . . I don’t have drug, alchohol, et.al. issues. My issues (—and I get that the issues may be cover for the abuse) are related to the Bible and God. —What is really, truly historical and real? What is true historically and not just true theologically. I am obessed with that. . . .But I do not want to be in a group recovering from that. . . .Why? . . . . I don’t like the people who really, fully understand my obsessions, my issues, they all seem like atheists or agnostics (—deconstructing, demythologizing the Bible). . . . .Here is just one example out of hundreds:

      From: “Denova, Rebecca I”
      To: Aleea Rodgers
      Sent: Friday, June 3, 2016 9:08 AM
      Subject: Re: Your Book review: A scholar examines the Gospels’ oral traditions May 21, 2016

      Aleea,
      Could you please let me know where the Dr. Ehrman and Dr. Price debate is being held? I did not see this yet. Thank you Aleea.

      On “the nature of my God”–this came from a conference I attended years ago on “The Quest for the Historical Jesus” at Duke University–7 scholars (big guns in the field), me, and 300 Southern Baptist Ministers.

      The final session, “The Nature of Our God,” dealt with the questions I had mentioned–then Dr. John Dominic Crossen (a leader in refuting many of the details of Jesus in the gospels), grabbed the microphone and said, “If you expect me to believe that God sent his only son into the world specifically to be tortured and killed, then I consider that divine child-abuse, and I won’t have it–that is not the kind of God I want to worship.” All 300 stood for a standing ovation–and then you could hear a pin drop. If one removes “the passion” from the story of Jesus, then it undermines the whole concept of his atonement for sins. They didn’t know what to do after that.

      I have always held that the crucifixion story (as it stands) has not only created two thousand years of anti-Semitism, but it is also historically inaccurate. I agree with Dr. Crossen that it should be removed from the liturgy.

      Rebecca I. Denova, Ph. D.
      Lecturer 2, The Early History of Christianity
      Department of Religious Studies
      University of Pittsburgh
      Rid4@pitt.edu
      412-600-9280

      . . . . Nancy, I would love to be in the right recovery group. . . . —And Rebecca, above, is a kind, dear person but do you see the issues with a group of people like that? People that would validate and not deny the issues/ questions I have. . . . . And again, I want to be very careful how I view others. At some point I have been (—in my own way), or will be, all of them. I share about my addiction and recovery journey as often as possible because I don’t want to die all alone in a dark closet, shrouded in shame beside decomposing skeletons like post-modernism, nihilism, etc. Let me tell you ideas are very dangerous. Ideas are as dangerous as drugs and alchohol, maybe more. But never really talking about real issues is just as dangerous, do you see what I mean?

      I am pretty certain this is all about finding real love, so I have to be careful of becoming codependent with like alcoholics, drug users, etc. in just any recovery group. . . . . But I don’t know, I just don’t know. Maybe that is the group to be in. Maybe, somehow, we could help heal each other. I certainly am not tempted with their issues and I doubt very, very seriously they would be tempted with my issues. —Maybe we could help heal each other? . . . . I just don’t know. —Again, I do understand how even things in the Bible that are not historically true can be way MORE true than true. As always, I am open to being totally wrong because I understand that what I do not yet know is far more important than what I already know, so I am really eager to learn, grow, take personal responsibility and I am grateful despite my psychological suffering (—my mother’s abuse).
      . . . . What those recovery programs do seem to get right is the idea of total change, reinforced constantly by companionship, plus practical advice. My childhood was an abusive, dramatic, chaotic situation and I did everything I could, and it wasn’t ever enough. . . . and I think that is because everything we can do just isn’t enough. It’s only enough when our everything joins with Christ’s everything.

      Thank you Nancy. I’m holding onto Christ while trying to avoid intellectual dishonesty and special pleading for the Christ of faith. But it is the same problem as every other problem and the solution is equally hard. . . . Why don’t you just stop drinking?; Why don’t you just stop using drugs?; Why don’t you just get over the PTSD?; Why don’t you just stop thinking about Christian origins?

      Thank you again, I appreciate your thoughts. It is an idea I will explore. . . .

  26. Nancy on August 20, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Hi Aleea,

    First, I owe you an apology for saying, “it’s a necessary step.” What I should have written is, ” it was, and continues to be, necessary for me.” I am sorry about that.

    It is necessary for me because I have history of only distorted love, and to be with, and serve with Godly women has been key for me. There’s someone at our church that I love working with because she is so gracious, loving, no pressure, healthy boundaries. I’m trying to describe what I feel but I just know she’s incredible healthy! Although way outside my comfort zone, I try to serve with her whenever I can.

    I hear wonderful things about celebrate recovery groups- not in my area. My understanding is that the focus is on Jesus ( not the problem, or theology- just Him).

    I am part of two Bible studies, where again, the focus is on Him and what The Lord is saying to me today, here and now- not theology. We confide in one another, our struggles, but again that’s not the focus – Jesus is (I save my most personal struggles, for counselling).

    As I am more and more exposed to what healthy people are like to be around, I am beginning to choose spending time with them, instead of staying inside my comfort zone of spending time with destructive people.

    All the analysis in the world cannot replace healthy relational experience.

    This has happened for me, in The Lord’s time. You’re wise to check this with The Lord, as well as with your counsellor!

    Take care 🙂

  27. Cyndy on August 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Aleea and Nancy, I have gone to a “Celebrate Recovery” group in my area, and I can tell you it was wonderful! All kinds of people there who have experienced different addictions and struggles. Mine, at the time was “relationship addiction”. The people reached out to me and were so gracious and not judgmental. I really felt drawn in and genuinely cared for. One of the things they guard against is having male-female relationships within the group. I was impressed, and probably would have continued if I didn’t already have such a strong support system of my own who love me no matter what I do or don’t do! They are based in evangelical churches– at least the ones I went to were. One woman who was part of the group, shared her story that her husband started going and she started going with him, “to support him”. The Lord convicted her eventually of her own heart issues that needed healing, so now she is an active part of that group. She was the one that I felt particularly drawn to, and the one who immediately reached out to me. I have a friend I met a few years ago in an “abuse recovery group” (that was wonderful too!)– all women. She moved on from there to Celebrate Recovery, which is a mixed group, and continued to heal. And was SO thankful for the people and relationships there. What Nancy says is so true: there is no replacement for supportive, gracious, healthy, non-judgmental relationships to completely heal. I will pray for that for you, Aleea!!! XO

    • Nancy on August 20, 2016 at 5:42 pm

      Hi Cyndy and Aleea,

      I so wish there were a celebrate recovery group in my area. Having said that I am very grateful for an incredible (very structured) Bible Study. I’ve often thought, as I listen to the women share the struggles in their relationship with The Lord and others, “This must be what an AA, Alanon, or Coda support group is like”.

      I have experienced so much healing through the fellowship of those Bible Study groups.

      Fellowship is a vehicle our Lord uses for healing His children.

      What a beautiful Lord we love 🙂

      • Aleea on August 21, 2016 at 8:42 am

        “Fellowship is a vehicle our Lord uses for healing His children.” . . . you know, it is an absolutely true, isn’t it? . . . .We can not know our own beauty or perceive a sense of worth until it has been reflected back to us in the mirror of another Godly, loving, psychologically healthy, caring, human being. . . And as ridiculous as it may sound, it seems to me that the next best thing to being wise oneself is increasingly spend more time in a circle of those who are: encouraging one another, praying with and for one another, setting examples to follow.

    • Aleea on August 21, 2016 at 7:28 am

      “I will pray for that for you, Aleea!!!” ―I so appreciate that Cyndy. That means way more to me than you can know. I am sure that it why I am always praying for others and telling them so. . . . I so want them to pray for me. I even tell Dr. Meier, my counselor, that the best thing she does in every counseling session is pray. I hope I am not insulting her, she says I am not. . . . I should swallow any pride I have and ask that more often of people: Will you please pray for me, if you have time. I am occupied. . . . .Again, one thing seems clear, if we have had serious abuse, we are “occupied”. I know I am. ―And not by good internalized relationships. How, oh how?, do you get at non-physical internalized relationships? It seems pretty straight forward to get a divorce from someone. How do you divorce someone who you have internalized in childhood trauma even though you never see them anymore? . . . Again, I so see much more clearly what Nancy (above) is saying. Healing is co-created isn’t it? The cave we fear to enter (―good, healthy relationships, like the woman at Nancy’s church) holds the treasure we seek. Please pray for me, if you have time.

  28. Aleea on August 21, 2016 at 7:00 am

    ―Oh Nancy, there is absolutely nothing to apologize for. . . .But, I love sensitivity like that however.

    . . . I think it may very well be a very necessary step. I just don’t know how to get it done. It could be that we are primarily healed by attachment to a new, good, healthy relationship with a friend, associate, etc. In other words, that relationship shows us the healthy process “goal.” Just like the women at your church that is so “. . . gracious, loving, no pressure, healthy boundaries. I’m trying to describe what I feel but I just know she’s incredible healthy! Although way outside my comfort zone, I try to serve with her whenever I can.” ―I think you are correct, that may actually be the way we heal. I just don’t really understand it but I think this is one of the marks of a truly safe person: they are confrontable. You can confront them and get that same response “. . . gracious, loving, healthy boundaries. . . “

    . . . One thing seems clear, if we have had serious abuse, we are “occupied”. I know I am. ―And not by good internalized relationships. Nancy, how do you get at non-physical internalized relationships? It seems pretty straight forward to get a divorce from someone. How do you divorce someone who you have internalized in childhood trauma even though you never see them anymore?

    “. . . I hear wonderful things about celebrate recovery groups- not in my area. My understanding is that the focus is on Jesus (not the problem, or theology- just Him). . . .” I would just love that type of focus. ―Yes, Lord, I don’t ever again want to have to hide from you. Thank you for inviting me to come before you, incredible doubts and all, and ask for forgiveness. ―Lord, I just want to know what is really, really, really real, Amen! (This just went through my head, my counselor always wants to know what just went through my head: Never hide things from serious thinkers. They get more provoked by confusion than the most painful truths.)

    “All the analysis in the world cannot replace healthy relational experience.” . . . . .That just feels so true. That helps me more than you know Nancy. ―Anyways, it causes me to really often think, . . .maybe, maybe this kingdom of Heaven is not like a church that is just out there waiting for you or I to walk into it, maybe we co-create it by really loving each other well (―really healthy relationships). That is where it is manifest? Christ’s kingdom is an invitation to a different reality (―oh, that is so, so hard for me), a different way of living in healthy realtionships. It is a new way of relating as people. Where ordinary, you know, secular human life is based on competitiveness and defensiveness, domination and subjugation, treachery and violence, the kingdom is based on the self-giving love of God. . . . but the Love is not without reciprocal accountability. That can’t happen in anything but good, healthy relationships. . . . I see much more clearly what you are saying. Healing is co-created isn’t it? The cave we fear to enter (―good, healthy relationships, like the women at your church) holds the treasure we seek. ―Again, Nancy, that helps me more than you know.

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