Morning friend,

I am exhausted but loved taking our three granddaughters for five days to San Diego for vacation. We went to Legoland and the beach and took long walks with the dog. (If you want to see a crazy video of me on a ride with my granddaughter, click here). We talked and colored and collected seashells. Sometimes we need time to look at life through the lens of a child. Gives a whole new perspective.

But it was also good to get home, back to normal routine and air conditioning. Although San Diego was much cooler than Arizona, it was much more humid and most homes there do not have air conditioning. I’m spoiled, but I do sleep better with A/C.

Question: I love your teaching and appreciate your CORE truth! I have been listening and practicing for almost two years. I think my body and mind are wearing out.

God has given me a break when my husband decided to go to Alaska for three months … but so far all I can do is sleep and try to find something to eat and go to work. I don't know how to build my core or what I need to do to take care of myself so that when he gets back I am stronger and know how to be healthy with in my marriage.

I know I can't put boundaries on him but I'm having a hard time learning my own boundaries or what makes sense in my mind as to what life is supposed to look like for me. I am seeing a counselor and she said I might not be able to continue much longer but I love my husband and I know that God is at work in his life.

I don't believe God is asking me to leave but I need help to know how to be stronger and healthy. My question is how do I make the most of these three months so that I develop a healthy sense of core strength?

Answer: CORE strength (for those who are not aware) is a term I developed in my book “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage,” for developing a healthier sense of who you are, how you handle your own self, as well as how you interact with other people, including those who are destructive. Here is what it stands for.

C – COURAGEOUSLY COMMITTED to the truth, both inside yourself and outside in your external circumstances. No more pretending.

O – OPEN to the Holy Spirit and wise others to help you grow and mature in areas that you need to mature in.

R – RESPONSIBLE for yourself and RESPECTFUL towards others without dishonoring your own self.

E – EMPATHIC and compassionate towards others, including your destructive spouse without enabling destructive behaviors towards yourself to continue.

You haven’t given me many details on what’s going on in your marriage that is wearing you out. You say you have been practicing CORE for two years but you’re getting worn out. Are you telling yourself that if you had enough CORE strength, you wouldn’t get worn out? That’s not true.

Walking in CORE strength means you are honest with yourself (C) and (R) responsible to recognize your limitations. Walking in CORE strength doesn’t mean you are able to function as a superhero in your marriage. It means that you will honor (respect) your own limitations, which might mean that being RESPONSIBLE for yourself right now means you have to take care of you and live separately so that you don’t continue to deteriorate.

I wonder if you might be going through some depression, which is very common for women in destructive marriages. The National Institute of Mental Health has reported the highest rates of depression are among unhappily married women, https://www.pharmacybc.com/ambien-zolpidem/.

Please take my free depression test HERE. And, I’d encourage you to sign up to watch the free webinar tonight (Wednesday) on the topic, “Is your marriage making you sick?” Click Here to Register.

Living in the truth (C) in CORE also means that you come to accept that some marriages are just too toxic to stay well no matter how strong you are. Again, you have not given me any details, but the statement by your counselor who does know what you are going through gives me a reason to suspect that this might be the case.

God’s word is clear that people affect and influence us, both for good and for bad. – Click To Tweet

Proverbs reminds us of the consequences of living with a contentious, argumentative, and difficult person. It’s not pretty. It’s as rottenness to your bones. Perhaps that’s what you are experiencing in your body.

You indicated that your husband is in Alaska for three months, which gives you a break from whatever is going on at home. It will be interesting to see if you start to feel a little stronger without him around. But healing from depression or being in a toxic relationship doesn’t just involve getting a break. It involves you taking some decisive action steps in order for you to make changes to the way you think, the way you relate, and the way you treat yourself.

You obviously feel conflicted. On the one hand, you love your husband and see God doing something in his life, which is a good thing. But you also say that you are feeling so worn out that all you can do sleep, eat and go to work.

You also mentioned that you have a hard time establishing your own boundaries. That might be a good place to work on you with your counselor. If you look again at walking in CORE, being committed to the truth means that you must be honest with yourself about what’s going on in your own body, mind, and heart as well as in your situation. The truth would say you aren’t doing well in your desire to stay well. You are worn out.

O – Open to the Holy Spirit and wise others, means that your counselor is telling you that perhaps the situation is too toxic for you to be able to stay well. Are you open to hearing that?

R – means that you will take responsibility for yourself. Right now that means that you will learn to set boundaries for yourself as good boundaries are an essential component of any healthy self.

Start by discovering what boundaries you want by defining what is okay with you and what is not okay with you, what will you do and what will you not do, what you will tolerate and what you will not tolerate. These boundaries are all a part of establishing a healthy self, an internal “I,” that knows what you are responsible for and what you are not responsible for. Communicating those limitations or boundaries with other people in a respectful way is also part of healthy relationships. They know what is acceptable and unacceptable to you.

Here is where it becomes problematic. A destructive person repeatedly ignores and disrespects your boundaries. The boundaries may even be mocked. Now what?

You can’t control him and what he does, but what you can control is his access to you if he does not respect your boundary. For example, if you say, “It’s not okay for you to hit me or block my way out, ever.” And, he continues to do it, then your boundary is being disrespected and the consequence might be that you have to move out, or call the police, or get a restraining order in order to make your boundary much stronger, and put legal consequences in place if he violates it again.

That is not enabling him to continue to be destructive without consequences. You can be compassionate that he ended up where he ended up, but those were his choices. That’s practicing the (E) step of CORE.

Another part of practicing CORE is being a good steward of your mind, body, and personhood. Sometimes as women we are too passive, waiting for someone to rescue us or take care of us. Don’t do that. Instead, build a strong CORE so that you become perfectly capable of taking care of your own self. That doesn’t mean you don’t have relationships, but you don’t have them from a place of “I NEED you for me to be okay.” But rather a healthier place of “I’m strong and capable alone, but I enjoy you or love you and want to build a healthy relationship together.”

So take this break to do some soul searching, some personal work and growth so that when he returns, you have a greater wisdom to know what the next steps are for you and your marriage.

Friend: Feeling depleted and empty is scary. What steps did you take to take care of yourself instead of waiting for something or someone else to change?

127 Comments

  1. Nancy on August 2, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Hi Leslie,

    What is a bit counter-intuitive is that now that I have increased my boundaries with my mother, contrary to feeling stronger, I am feeling my fragility more acutely. I think this is because I have created a safe space where healing can take place, and am now ‘thawing out’.

    Each day I am giving ALL my relationships to The Lord. I believe that creating these stronger boundaries ( with my mother) is what The Lord is asking of me, but right now my walk is very painful, and I feel worse.

    It seems to me that at the beginning of the process of boundary setting ( or each time I’ve increased my boundaries with any individual) I have initially felt worse. This is where being Ooen to the Holy Spirit and wise others is so important, because responding to my own feelings (of false guilt) will lead me back down the same-old rabbit hole, again and again.

    Boundary setting and living with this false guilt – without acting on it – is such an important excercise in learning to take responsibility for me. It is a vital first step in creating the life that I want, instead of being a bystander in my own life because I automatically just respond to what everyone else wants. My passivity is very engrained.

    Thank you for continually encouraging us all to be owners.

  2. Mary Ann on August 2, 2017 at 11:47 am

    From my experience in boundary setting you do initially feel worse because you are experiencing loss. Loss of what you thought it was, was you hoped it was, what you thought it could be, etc. The feeling worse is the actual feeling of reality. Most of us were avoiding reality so we wouldn’t feel. When you face it, you initially feel worse. But when you realize that the relationship was toxic and the other person really was feeding off you in some way, you then enter into freedom. The freedom Christ died to give you. Freedom to be who He intended you to be. I encourage all to go to Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Trinity whenever you feel overwhelmed, disrespected or weak. Go into your room and close the door, go into a closet or your car and drive somewhere safe and quiet, like a park and pour your heart out asking the Trinity to strengthen you and give you peace. They will! Undoubtedly they will! And you will feel stronger and you will feel at peace. Taking time to be with God and stay with him through small and short prayers throughout your day is the way you will truly recover from this kind of abuse and become strong. Strong in the Lord. Put on His armor and it will protect you. Ephesians 6:10-20.

    • Nancy on August 2, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Thank you Mary Ann. Yes, it’s the loss of illusion that is painful, losing the fairy tale ( in my case, letting go of the illusion that I maintained for years; that I had a loving mother).

      I often think about Jesus’ feet. He came from Heaven into the reality and into the mess of this world. He has nothing to do with illusion- He is Truth. He walks beside us as we face the reality of our lives.

      I love your encouragement to go to the Trinity. Talk about being completely enveloped.

    • Michelle on August 5, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Loss of what you thought it was, was you hoped it was, what you thought it could be, etc.

      Mary Ann,

      I believe I have felt this when I had to realize that my oldest son (when he was about 7) still wouldn’t have a male role model in my husband. It really hurt. I just wanted a whole harmonious family, but I saw that my h just wasn’t there for my son. He always talked (still does) in a negative tone to and about him. Now my son is almost 15. Since my realization, I have been determined to find male role models to fill in the gap where I couldn’t. So, today he has youth group leaders, Traillife leaders, and martial arts mentors and leaders. I know there is still a gap because I believe he should have an active father figure in his live, but I can’t help that now.

      The other realization that I had to come to is my loss of my dream marriage. It has never happened, and I don’t see it happening now. My h has a crazy way of making it seem like it is happening, but then I hear how he talks to my two older kids and how he makes them feel, and I am brought back down to reality so fast. When he makes them feel bad, he makes me feel bad. I have real trouble being a loving, supportive wife to that and a loving supportive mother. My children came first in this case. I’m all they have, especially when he acts the way he does, which is consistently all the time.
      My illusions were lovely. I remember dreaming of them when I was a little girl growing up. But they are just that, easily evaporated. And the loss is painful when reality stares you in the face. My children are growing up fast. Illusion is a big time waster.

      • JoAnn on August 6, 2017 at 9:24 am

        So Michelle, I’m wondering if you can set some boundaries around your children, and help them to set boundaries? “Dad, when you talk to me that way, I don’t like it and I don’t deserve to be spoken to that way. I’m walking out right now.” His behavior os going to affect them for the rest of their lives, so this is a good time for them to learn how to set boundaries for themselves. You can empower them to do that. And, what about your own boundaries? Rise up and refuse to tolerate this behavior. It is toxic to yo and your children.

        • Michelle on August 7, 2017 at 6:49 am

          I have tried to help them believe that they are worthy of respect and they can kindly and respectfully stand their ground. I will continue to reinforce that as they are getting well into teenagerhood. They need to know how as adults anyway. I just hate it that they must do it to someone who is suppose to be a good male role model, someone who demonstrates what it should look like.
          I have tried to state my boundaries, but they get overrun all the time. I try hard to defend them, they somehow get lost in the fight.

      • Aly on August 6, 2017 at 10:04 pm

        Michelle,

        I agree with JoAnn below about boundaries. Are you acting on boundaries to protect your children from what you say your h is doing consistently all the time? Is he treating them like they are less then? What is the treatment of them… does he bully?

        Are you tolerating his reactions or treatment to your children thinking that he (your h) will have self reflection and stop the reoccurring treatment of his children. You as their mom have the responsibility to intervene and hold your husband accountable for doing the necessary work needed to repair what it sounds like he reputures over and over. How can you emotionally feel safe with someone in this place? I don’t blame you for feeling disinterested like you have mentioned previously ~ and when things are not resolved or repaired by the offender then it would be natural for you to disengage (marital speaking here only). But this disengagement could include boundaries and requirements for your h in order for your marriage to get healthier.

        In another post you wrote:
        “I’m trying to decided what exactly makes peacefaker look different from peacemaker.”

        Peace fakers are willing tolerate wrong at the expense of truth and addressing reality. Peace fakers are more comfortable in this place than risking conflict in raising an issue that is problematic, it’s really fear based and creates an insecure relationship overall not one I would consider where love can grow and thrive as God desires for us as His children.

        Lastly, I will say that ‘it’s enough’ that you SEE there is a problem even if he doesn’t.

        • Michelle on August 7, 2017 at 6:45 am

          Thank you. I think you understand how I’m feeling. Yes, he does treat them like they are less than. I have seen what seems like bullying, but I guess because of my disbelief that it could be, I have trouble wrapping my mind around that it is. There was an incident recently, though, that I called him out on it. He kept trying to justify by saying he always does that to ANYONE who acts like that towards him. I had to remind him that she is a 13 year old little girl. She is not ANYONE. It was shocking. He has a way of turning things into something they are not when I try to address them. By the time I realize the truth of the matter, the moment has passed, he has moved on, but the hurt remains, the memory is stored. And that is where my two older kids and I remain. I, we,have trust issues, bitterness issues, and disinterest. I have been in different counseling over the past 5 years, secular and biblical. (There’s a definite difference.) So have my two older children. I am currently waiting for a family counseling/class to begin in September. It’s the only thing we haven’t done yet. My h doesn’t know it yet. I expect him back home either tonight or tomorrow. I am filled with anxiety knowing he will be coming home soon. I hate it. But I know my youngest misses him. He is the favored one.

          • Aly on August 7, 2017 at 8:34 am

            Dear Michelle,
            It does sound like a difficult place but the difference in difficult and destructive is ‘what happens’ when you address your position on how he is treating a 13yr old (your precious daughter) and other children especially if there is a discrepancy. Is there is no repentance then healing and repair between the two of you can happen. Forgiveness can happen outside of his acknowledgement but not reconciliation and safety to move forward. Your h is getting a relationship without having to repair and take responsibility of his part. This is like a cancer over time but it is also a common theme in destructive marriages and superior/inferior relational dynamics. If not addressed, Children growing up in this will think that these (superior/inferior) roles are ‘normal or familiar’ as they branch out into personal relationships too.

            His response to you is to minimize rationalize and it sounds like he rarely ever takes responsibility for ‘acting wrong’ toward your children and making amends to change.
            P.Doyle has a great YouTube on why the biggest threat and destructive place to families is men not being the initators of taking responsibility and modeling this leadership in the family. (I’ll see if I can find it and post it)

            What you describe are core traits of someone that disrespects another person’s concerns and issues to resolve within the marriage. These are common in destructive and most often very immature people. Common never means normal or good. It was hard for me to identify my h as an having an abusive mindset, mainly because he was pretty generous and loving in other ways.. but I looked at the patterns especially when I attempted to address a problem I had and they helped me see what I really was facing.

            Your situation probably seems like it is now a ‘family problem’ but it sounds like a serious marital problem first. If the marital problem isn’t addressed it’s hard for the family problem to get repaired~ just my opinion.
            I agree that your children can learn how to speak their truth and have their voice, but when they observe the dynamics between you and your h they are watching an outcome~ that I can only imagine is quite frightening for them.

            His (your h) reasonings of why he does what he does are clear signs he has core character and maturity issues, let alone not caring how his behavior impacts you or your children.

            Many men / husband’s get stuck right there (and get fed normalcy by not having any uncomfortable consequences, this is where ‘you’ can come in)
            and see nothing wrong with how they impact others,(because there is nothing ‘too uncomfortable’ about their situation~the rest of the family orbits around the person who has different rules and expectations of himself). This family culture can create a lot of insecurity in children overtime and if you have a son esp. observing this ongoing and feeling powerless growing up, he will need a lot of help to sort through how to have healthy coping skills so he doesn’t become destructive himself.

            (I’m sharing here a lot of my h’s history growing up in a family where dad was in control and everyone else had to go along, his dad was never shown areas of which he needed to model Christlike humility,empathy, maturity and true connection with his kids. His mother was passive and began to believe that this behavior in ‘men’ is how they are and it’s normal. My h was very developmentally severed in places of growing up because yes there was NO healthy manhood model and most certainly not a Christian man showing him his significance in Christ alone.)they attended church every Sunday but there was a great disconnection with that and it caused my h a lot of trust issues with God through the years.

            As men live in their place without any real intimacy with God and with their wives and without an ongoing place of being convicted of areas of growth…. they get older, less willing, and have little insight into changing to a healthier Godly man who can say ‘I was wrong’ and I need to address my behavior. This pattern is epidemic in our culture of families in my opinion.

            A third party or very good Christian counselor will most likely be required for your situation because he doesn’t respect or honor you the way a loving Godly husband has covenantly committed to. I say these things out of hope and love for your all too common marital dynamic but if ‘you’ get the help ‘you need’ there is a lot of hope for your children and possibly your husband.
            God will give you the strength to rise up and challenge this toxic system and will help you set the boundaries and expectations out of love for the overall health of everyone in the family. You are not alone~ and from my experience non of us do it alone.

            Do you have women in your daily life that can be of healthy support who understand the situation? It’s imp that the people you are surrounded by are not contributing to minimizing or normalizing your h behavior.
            Hugs and prayers~ I am sorry this was long!



          • Michelle on August 8, 2017 at 6:04 am

            Aly,

            Thank you so much for your words. Don’t apologize for your response being long. I couldn’t read it right off last night so I printed it for my journal and quiet time this morning and it is just what I needed for this morning. I, too, believe I have a hard time identifying in my h his abusive ways when he is generous and loving in other ways, however inconsistent (although I can pinpoint he is the most when he comes back into town after being on the road for several days. But it doesn’t take long to wear off. That sounds negative, but it’s true. Instead of hoping it will be different this time, the kids and I just try to ride it as long as we can, because we have grown to know it won’t last long.) I am trying to find ways to show ‘kindness’ rather than ‘niceness’. It doesn’t usually go so well. He doesn’t like being uncomfortable. If he makes any amends, the effort is temporary and later thrown at me saying I don’t give him credit for trying. Personally, I don’t like the ‘scorekeeping’. It’s not real when one does that. I appreciate what you said when you spoke of you h’s father not showing Christlike humility, empathy, maturity, adn true connection to his kids. That is very true here, with a little exception with my youngest, since he is the one between us. I have actually used the word ’empathy’ when trying to explain how to deal with my older kids to my h. He didn’t seem to understand.
            Thank you for the encouragement. I am always praying for direction and the strength to go. And I really appreciate the words “You are not alone”. I recently filled out a form I got in the mail for a ring that has a cross on the outside and the engraved words “You will never walk alone” on the inside. These words are comforting.
            I have a couple of Christian women in my life. I don’t get to see one anymore but I do have a connection with her. The other one I see every so often in passing. We both are so busy with kids and when my h is home, I can’t go see her because he either wants to do something or I have the kids with me. I try to never leave my older kids at home without me when he is home. But she definitely understands because she has been where I am.
            Thank you again. I feel a little better about today, better than yesterday.



          • Aly on August 8, 2017 at 8:27 am

            Dear Michelle,

            Thank you for your post. Myself and many women here I believe want to encourage and empower many that are navigating some areas that are well very relatable.
            I share my story and my history as any hope of how God continued to show me a way through and ‘out’.
            I was well ingrained to be a victim early in my marriage because of my family of origin issues and the Lord gave me the strength and courage to not do the same to my own children let alone myself.

            I will share I’m concerned about your ongoing situation causing desensitized areas and reasoning? I say this out of care and support as it sounds like from your post your support might be limited. My recovery process was intense and daily. (Still is daily and will always be as I’m always wanting to grow in the places God calls me to) It became a necessary place for me to get strengthened so that I could require the necessary things that I and our children were worthy to receive of my husband.

            You wrote:
            “But it doesn’t take long to wear off. That sounds negative, but it’s true. Instead of hoping it will be different this time, the kids and I just try to ride it as long as we can, because we have grown to know it won’t last long.)”

            This above is where I would challenge that you are participating in the areasof your h’s swings. It’s very possible that you are thinking this is survival but it’s teaching your children that this is normal to function in and I worry about things like anxiety and depression and many other things of coping strategies that they will learn. Not saying the coping skills are good.

            You wrote:
            ” I am trying to find ways to show ‘kindness’ rather than ‘niceness’. It doesn’t usually go so well. He doesn’t like being uncomfortable. If he makes any amends, the effort is temporary and later thrown at me saying I don’t give him credit for trying. ”

            Typical scenario of a destructive relationship in my opinion. Him not likely being uncomfortable or able to deal with you holding your reality up and your h struggling to look at it”
            (This is where therapy is essential)

            You wrote:
            “I have actually used the word ’empathy’ when trying to explain how to deal with my older kids to my h. He didn’t seem to understand.”

            Ok Michelle,he very well might not understand but that isn’t the biggest danger here~is he willing to something about him not understanding?
            It’s not your job to convince him of his impact on you and your children, its also not your children’s role either in my opinion.
            An h with the issues that he has lacks respect for you all and empathy is something that can be learned if he’s willing to grow up?

            I wrote previously ~
            “You are not alone”.

            This was encourage you and to remind you of your strength and courage that comes from God Himself, it wasn’t meant to make you more comfortable in your situation but to give you the reassurance that you have choices and many responsibilities as a mother advocating for her children and herself!

            Youwrote in regards to your extended support:
            “We both are so busy with kids and when my h is home, I can’t go see her because he either wants to do something or I have the kids with me.”

            Well, I can relate to being busy but I can also relate to seeing how being busy kept me from getting the help and healing I needed most so I could take back the power in my relationship that was clearly stolen from me. For me, I had to look at what was pressing and what priorities needed to be in place so I could get healthier for my children and ultimately my husband. Being busy was my excuse for not taking the action necessary in getting resolution regardless if the marriage survived. I couldn’t afford being too busy at the expense of my marital situation and how that would grow through the years. I had to get educated and equipped because I couldn’t settle with the leaking cancer.

            You wrote:about your friend
            “But she definitely understands because she has been where I am.”

            Ok great! What did she do? What lengths did she take to getting healthier and being a peace maker in her home?

            You wrote:
            “Thank you again. I feel a little better about today, better than yesterday”

            Well I think this is good?, but I want to caution you on feeling better.. are you feeling you have more strength to maybe face the challenging situation you have within your marriage?
            Are you seeing that you are capable to require your husband get help for his attitude and behavior as the man and male role model in your home?

            Do you want to be the warrior& provider of your kids and show them the path to guarding their hearts while at the same time requiring health to be able to thrive in your home?

            Praying for you to see that God will equip you for your journey and it’s a journey worth taking because He loves you so much! He actually seeks us “to participate” in this, we are not passive in this process ~ he doesn’t just fix things but he does show us how to grow and how to trust in Him.
            💕



          • JoAnn on August 8, 2017 at 9:42 am

            Well said, Aly. The Lord is clearly using your experience to minister to everyone here. Thank you for sharing and putting into words the pain and the hope of moving forward. <3



          • Aly on August 7, 2017 at 8:37 am

            Michelle,
            Correction from my post:
            If there is no repentance from your h, then healing and repair between the two of you cant happen. Meaning trust can’t be built. Forgiveness CAN happen outside of his acknowledgement, but not ‘reconciliation’ and safety to move forward.



          • Michelle on August 8, 2017 at 6:07 am

            I understand this. I believe it, too. It is hard, because my h does not. He tends to go a little dramatic on me saying how it’s all his fault, everything. He never does anything right, and on and on. I just can’t talk to him when he gets like that. It goes no where.



          • Aly on August 8, 2017 at 7:53 am

            Dear Michelle,

            Where are you willing to leave it when you say it goes nowhere?

            I’m confused about this, your h is taking the victim approach and saying things are his fault and meaning everything ~ which by the way are a clear sign of immaturity but yet the behavior repeats itself … am I correct?
            What do you think is critical for their to be ‘good medicine of sorts’ to flow into your h and your family?
            By medicine I’m speaking in a metaphor here.

            To me, the things you describe about the behaviors of your h and the overall dynamic are consistent with a person that does not have an identity anchored in Christ. And certainly not growing in maturity with that full receiving of God’s grace and Love for him.

            It’s imp to see that a person saying things are ALL their fault but then the repair or behavior change isn’t really there… shows he’s not serious about that ‘sorrow’ it’s just a ‘sorry sayer’.
            In our home there is a difference between a sorry sayer and a sorry doer.
            Sorry Sayers cause chaos, confusion and insecurity in the home. Doers do what ever it takes to repair the offenses and find out what is at the motive behind the behavior ~ so they can have changed behavior.
            Most people have to have long term therapy and accountability for a behavioral issue(s) to change… all of which can be orchestrated by God through many vessels!

            So the next time, you h says it’s all his fault or uses that victim mentality ~ then it could be helpful to ask him what he plans to do to get the help needed to rebuild the trust in the home?



          • JoAnn on August 7, 2017 at 4:22 pm

            I’m sorry that you are feeling trapped in this marriage…that’s my interpretation of the way you feel you cannot change the dynamics. You say that your older children are in counseling, but how can they heal if they still have to live with their uncaring and destructive father? What are they learning by having to remain in this environment? When your h is not at home, how do you talk with the children to help them see the reality.?….probably they are more clear than you are, and they need to be able to express that to you. Maybe you need to have an “intervention” with him; let each child tell him how he/she feels about they way he treats you and them. I hope that will happen in the family therapy sessions. they absolutely need to feel that you are on their side and are there to protect them, because they are worth protecting. (I wish I could underline that last clause.) If he has any feelings for his children at all, hearing how they feel about what he is doing should have an impact. The truth is, NO ONE deserves to be spoken to the way he “does that to everybody,” and especially his own children, whom he professes to love.
            I confess to feeling very upset about how they are being hurt.



          • Michelle on August 8, 2017 at 6:13 am

            Thank you. I hope something positive will have in the family therapy. I have tried the ‘intervention’ before a few times. Some went well, some not so much, but in the end, not much change. My kids are growing to trust and believe in him less and less.
            Yesterday I was impressed on my heart all day to forget our evening schedule and take just my two older kids out for dinner while my youngest was at his summer camp. I’m glad I did it. It’s just what we all needed. I shared some things with them about emotions, the difference between niceness and kindness, and I let them know they do have the right to kindly and respectfully stand up for themselves. It is an adult thing to do, and being teenagers, they should start practicing. I reinforced that I am here and I support them and that they are not alone.



          • JoAnn on August 8, 2017 at 9:30 am

            The dinner date was a great idea. Keep the lines open with them, listen a lot, and empower them to stand up. Then, empower yourself. The yo-yo he keeps you on is crazy-making. Others here have recommended keeping a journal, and writing about the negative things…when they happen and recount as specifically as possible what he says and does that are hurtful. It will help you see things more clearly. Don’t be fooled by the “good” days; they are a trick that keeps you coming back, hoping for more. Like the poor dog that gets a bone every so often, just enough to keep it hoping for more. You are not a dog, and you don’t deserve to be treated this way…ever, at all.



          • Aly on August 8, 2017 at 10:44 am

            JoAnn, Michelle,

            So true about your notation on the ‘good days’ as a way to stay entangled with the cycle.
            How common is this? Very and by common that doesn’t mean good.
            There are plenty of options Michelle😊 That’s the good news from where your at in the process.. not saying I know but just thinking a little bit out loud here.
            I like that JoAnn suggested a journal, so key I think in reminding ourselves of the pattern and it’s usually pretty predictable.

            What I hope to encourage you on Michelle is that there are a lot of resources and help out there to assist in you gaining clarity and clarity does lead to action.

            I also think it’s good for you to engage and validate your older children with their process but I also feel strongly that children have parents for a reason and parents can model their strength and their faith in their action for their children and bless them in the process.

            I think it’s imp for you to take the lead in this otherwise your daughter or other children might get adult responsibilities that are not their marital issues.

            I hope you hear my heart here as a fellow mom, I have children and it was vital that I show up for them regardless of the fear or the outcome of the marriage.
            Besides what I really had wasn’t a marriage anyway! My young children were not getting a healthy model of a Godly marriage at all! And I took a covenant to a Godly marriage, as well as was given the responsibility to be their mother and model for them what ‘a loving spouse really does do’ .

            My own mother had similar issues in here marriage, she tried to ignore and not deal with it as long as no one said anything.
            My mother will admit in private the unhealth of her dynamic but with her spouse (my father) in the room she changes her truth back to fear based denial of all sorts.

            To this day, she fears her husband, and the overall outcome of the marriage she has settled for OVER fearing God and her response to being his own beloved Daughter.
            I’ll mention the marriage is not an honest Godly one and she is ok with that, but is duplicit with what she says she believes and what she acts on.

            I tell you these things because even as a child and as an adult ~ she has placed many of these things upon me to face and deal with my father ~ this has been upside down and there have horrible consequences for her decision to continue to follow and feed fear over feeding faith. Real Faith in action.

            She never stopped long enough to weigh her choices and the consequences of those choices, she preferred to be distracted by being busy to not feel bad enough to act. How she choose to prioritize and peace keeping has cost her dearly. 😩
            The longer one stays here the harder it is to see clearly in my opinion and be motivated for any healthy change.

            What helped me the most admist the ‘busy busy times’ was stoping and getting honest about my fear and taking that to God and others that would challenge me.
            Michelle when you can discover any fear that stands in your way, you might find other paths that could lead you to an ‘actual marriage and heathy father model for your children? Or you might not… based on your husband’s willingness. He may not want to take that journey and agree to get help and go all in as it will take a lot of time, energy and wisdom to grow healthy together.

            Dealing with our fear and our intimacy with God will help us deal with our intimacy issues in relationships horizontally.

            Again, I want to encourage you that there is nothing wrong with ‘fear’, (I still have fear in places along my journey daily)
            But the issue is what choices do we make in response to that fear?

            Does fear decide or does faith decide?
            By faith, I’m not in anyway saying ‘peacekeeping’ I’m saying being brave and confronting the issues knowing who has your back! This can have many things that you require of your h to address the marital issues. I realize there are family issues also, but the core starts at our identity in a Christ and that relationship first, and then it goes to our spouse 2nd and then to our children and yes then our grand children.

            Jesus was not a peace keeper or peace faker~ he made peace and he invited his own into relationship with him, many walked away and many were outraged. Truth in love is life giving to those who hunger and seek His kingdom.

            One of my prayers to the Lord was to continue to help me see His peace and experience while at the same time never making me comfortable in this world as if it’s my own. My prayer is that you will see your worth in your marriage as vital to your children’s eyes and that it encourages you to see your journey each day!
            Hugs and prayers for your family



  3. Content on August 2, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    I really like Leslie’s response here as it validates that, in fact, the questioner is getting stronger.

    Growth hurts. And being some perfect version of what you think you should look like doesn’t necessarily mean you are strong. It might mean, as Mary Ann said, that you are not really feeling and dealing with things but just sweeping them under the rug.

    When I felt utterly exhausted and just unable to do much else but take care of the minimal necessities in life, it was a strong choice for me to give myself permission to be right where I was. I didn’t have to pretend and barrel through life. This started before I separated from my husband. If I didn’t feel like I could think enough to plan a meal and cook, then I didn’t. I stopped worrying about how that would make him feel or what he would think of me. I did what *I* needed to do for me. But, from the outside looking in, I’m sure most people would have said I was giving up on life and falling apart and not functioning the way I should have been.

    That reminds me, that my husband tried to shame me recently for paying to have our lawn taken care of – he’s living in a separate place and I made the choice to pay someone to do so and it was a really good deal. So I’m very aware that my husband is one of those people who think that if you don’t “have it all together” in the way they “have it all together”, then you are looked at as weak or lazy.

    All I know is God continues to bless me in my weakness and show Himself strong in the process. It’s a much better place to be.

    • Lynn on August 2, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      Your last paragraph: YES!!!

      Our lives are so different, yet so similar. But we ALL have access to the loving, sovereign God who never forsakes us. I have a husband AND parents with the “unless you’re doing this…” thinking/oppression. Finding my way out of crazy making land has been painful (and I’m still not conpletely out) but God has never been more REAL or close and for that I feel so blessed. Beauty for ashes, He redeems our pain and blesses us.

  4. L on August 2, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I see a naturopath who has been able to identify weaknesses in my body to give me vitamins to help my physical body recover, and get stronger. As my physical body gets stronger, I am also able to handle the stress better. It is two steps forward, and one step backward, but looking over the past year I see I have come a long way. Boundaries are important; and healing takes place on all levels with the body, mind, and spirit. Also, by listening to the Spirit of God within me, I feel that is the affirmation I am looking for.

    Thank you for your posts that offer understanding and encouragement.

    Blessings.

    • JoAnn on August 6, 2017 at 9:26 am

      Taking care of your body is a very important component of self care. Good for you!!

  5. many years on August 2, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    The steps I took were to throw myself into God’s arms, as the scriptures say: ‘When thou are weak I (God) am strong’, and He is strong for us in our behalf as his children. I began seeking books of wisdom to counteract, twisted relationships which were not honoring to the Lord.

    And believe me! Twenty-five years ago there was not much out there for women in the way of help for the abuses and conflicts a marriage can bring, as the church was still emmeshed in the ‘Me Obey Him’ category of books from the 1970’s, which did put most of the responsibility on the wife’s shoulders to ‘obey her husband in everything’.

    The problem with books such as that was, ALL SCRIPTURE is given for our learning, not just selected verses, which so many preacher took out of context, where the men were not held accountable. The church I was in at the time, preached that type of mindset. So, I did not get any help from the church community I was in.

    When ‘Boundaries’ came out by Townsend and Clarke, it was so refreshing to see that my painful heart now had a place to go to to become strong in the belief that God would provide the ways and means for me to become a strong Christian woman.

    And now there are many other sites for domestic problems where the woman is helped.

    And another verse: ‘Thy strength is made perfect in weakness’. I think that means, when we lean on the Lord in our weakness, he is there, with His everlasting wings to lift us up on eagles wings and to rise above life’s storms.’

    The Lord didn’t say is would be an easy journey here on the Earth, but he does give us his Word to guide us, and his Holy Spirit to lead us.

    Keep on trusting the Lord, growing at your own pace, and believing God will direct you. I like the closet prayer aspect of getting away, going somewhere to think away from a toxic environment. This is exactly what Jesus used to do. He would go into a dessert place to pray.

    ‘He will lead me beside still waters, he restores my soul.’

    Thank you for this deep response Leslie, and praying for the poster gal whom you chose to use her question.

  6. Aleea on August 3, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I’ve always thought that the “C” (commitment to honesty, internal and external —no more pretending even though it might create conflict or tension) was/is the answer. This puts our lives directly back into God’s hands. The power behind speaking the truth as best we know how and taking responsibility for our actions means we no longer dwell on the outcomes (—no outcome engineering) or whom we are going to blame (—in my case my mother). Those things waste time and build roadblocks to healing. We put our lives back into God’s hands by speaking the truth as clearly and as precisely as we know how to our spouses, to everyone. —We don’t use our language to manipulate, control situations —no outcome engineering. —Why? Because we have no real idea what is best for us anyway, only God does and when we speak our truth clearly that self-selects people into and out of our lives. The idea is don’t use your language instrumentally. . . .Don’t use language to try to get what you want because doing so destroys God’s path for us and again, we don’t really know what is best for us anyway. Only God knows what is best for us and the only way to be on that path is to be careful to, as clearly and as best we know how, tell spouses the truth. . . .Your husband asks if I wanted to go for a walk. You tell him, “No. but I’m getting my jacket.” He says: “Why get your jacket if you don’t want to?” “Because I love you and I know you want to, and I know I’m usually happy afterwards when I do. I don’t want to, but I will.” Instead of rationalizing internally and just saying “Yes!”, even though you didn’t want to, you told the truth, but acted in the best interests anyway. It is as honest as we can be. . . . .Sometimes we tell white lies because we can’t come up with a truth that isn’t more harmful, but it’s still not right, it’s not optimal. There’s a truth there that we could tell if we could get it right and truth puts your world and The World right. . . . So, at my Bible church, we are in this re|engage Marriage Enrichment Program. . . .You can just see people holding back in that class because they don’t want to tell the truth. But telling the truth (—obviously with Grace and Love) always puts our lives back in God’s hands. . . .Say what you think! Tell the truth about what you think, even about God and Jesus. There’s gonna be times you think: “Hellfire & Brimstone, I can’t say that even with Grace & Love” ―but that causes nothing to get solved and everything to go underground festering, especially in our marriages. Take full personal responsibility by telling the truth (—again with Grace and Love) because that will always put our lives back in God’s hands. When you tell the truth, everything begins to come together . . .when you’re around someone who tells the truth everything comes together.

    The Truth (living the “C”) actually brings the Kingdom-of-Heaven down here, the truth speaks that into existence; otherwise, we have hell on earth when people are peacefaking. That’s another hallmark of truth, it snaps things together. You have a God-given nature and when you feel that nature truthfully articulated it’s like the act of snapping the puzzle pieces together and if you don’t know what the truth is (―because sometimes we just don’t) then at least stop peacefaking. . . . The truth is something that burns. It burns off dead wood. ―And I don’t like having the dead wood burnt off either because I’m like 70 percent dead wood. . . . .Believe me I’m not being snide about that. ―It’s no joke. When you start to realize how much of what you’ve constructed of yourself is based on just what others told you and you have accepted without serious research, fact checks, without considering deception and lies, ―that is a horrifying realization. It can easily be 70 percent of you and the things you say and the things you act out. . . . . — but *you* don’t actually exist until you have *your* own words, *your* own voice. If you’re not using your own words, you’re captured by an ideology or “experts” or thinkers or your own selfish desires. You can tell when you are speaking like that because it makes you feel weak — it makes you feel weak and you can localize that feeling physiologically if you listen to yourself talk. When we are speaking properly, we will experience a feeling of integration and strength and when you’re speaking the truth (—as best you know how in your situation), you will have your life back in God’s hands where your not trying to be an outcome engineer. . . . So we get our aim right and the aim is Truth, even if that deconstructs our marriage, even if that deconstructs other things we so desperately want to be true . . . .but that has to be nested inside love. Love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering ameliorated and the truth is the assistant of love. . . .But it is not safety oriented to speak the truth. It never will be. If your friend is harming their life by destructive actions, would you tell them, even if you knew it would risk the relationship? If you knew something at church was wrong, and denouncing it would lead to embarrassment and hostility, would you speak up? Would you really stand up for someone or something against evil overwhelming forces? Not telling the truth is always the easier route, shorter-term, but longer-term it is totally destructive.

  7. Michelle on August 4, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I understand a lot of what this young lady says. What keeps coming to my mind is something my pastor said in a message last month. He was talking about Christians becoming desensitized from not guarding their hearts or ears. Then he said, “or worse, they may become dis-interested.” That bothered me in the sense that I applied it to my life in my marriage. I’m afraid that is what has happened to me. I have become disinterested. And my two older children are in danger of it as well. My daughter, I believe is already there. My son is about there. So to keep trying, or at this point, to try at all is not on the radar. Not sure if the capability is either. I see my husband try, but then I see the backslide. Bad things have gone on for so long, the danger of the point of no return lingers. Then I wonder is that even such a thing for a Christian. We should always have at least a little bit of hope. I have been trying for years to love as a verb rather than a feeling in the great hope (and expectation) that the feelings will return. After 4 years, it hasn’t happened. Actually it has gotten worse. I feel further away. My children are getting further away. If dis-interest has happened, what do we do to get it back? How do we get it back? How do I help my children to want it back? How do I stay well when I don’t feel anymore so much, although every now and then I do feel a littly tiny memory of dream of a happy marriage. It is fleeting. Right now I just want my children to be ok, without adding detriment to my youngest. How do I do that? Everybody is in the middle.

    • Maria on August 4, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      Michelle, Instead of trying to force yourself to feel something you don’t, it may be a better idea to ask yourself why you and your kids are feeling the way you are. It sounds like there are problems in your marriage. Have you addressed them?

      • Michelle on August 5, 2017 at 7:47 am

        Yes, there are problems. Yes I have addressed them. I’ve had to re-address. We’ve (as in my 2 older kids and I) had individual secular and biblical counseling, tried couples counseling (which due to his schedule, suspicion, and not telling the whole truth didn’t work out as much as fade out), then DSS came on the scene, more counseling,… anyway, acting out of love rather than the feeling of it is something I got out of biblical counseling. There’s a lot of learning in that. I did get the warning, though, that I still may not get the results needed or wanted. At least I’m still growing, I guess?. And this all is a learning opportunity of growth for each of us. The last and only thing we haven’t tried is family counseling which begins in September. He doesn’t know about it yet because he’s out of town, but he will be going.

        • Aly on August 6, 2017 at 10:17 am

          Dear Michelle,

          Glad your looking into family counseling. I’m sorry for what your going through and the feelings of well~ disinterest which certainly can motivate a direction.

          I’m not sure what the involvement of DSS is, but that sounds serious and children are not capable of ‘adult issues or responsibilities’.

          I also see that you mentioned that your still growing… and you say ‘I guess’? I’m wondering about your comment and how and what direction you feel you are growing?

          It’s true that we can be growing in places ‘but what growth is it ‘is wise to assess.
          Some can grow in more passive but destructive responses or some can grow in more desensitized behavior because it feels normal to be in that cycle with another?
          There are many areas of growth in my opinion.

          Something you said stuck out above..
          “Not sure if the capability is either. I see my husband try, but then I see the backslide. Bad things have gone on for so long, the danger of the point of no return lingers.”

          Some of what you mention is a expected part of recovery~ your h here but must be carefully evaluated by a professional for a long period of time.

          I’m not sure how to interpret ‘bad things’ and what you mean by the point of no return.
          Are you also getting individual counseling for your own heart in this process?

          Given what ever the bad things are about and what you see in your h try and then not, it seems to represent that maybe your h needs a lot more treatment (counseling) accountability for growing in character etc..
          it’s a common theme when dealing with destructive people that they barely get the consistent long term behavioral issues addressed the way that is necessary to SEE actual change in behavior and usually it’s many Years in therapy.
          All to often I will hear a husband try~ but that’s for a short amount of time (6 months to a year) and the process will still be minimal in the internal work.

          Just something I found in my own journey with my own husband needing to grow -up and learn how to be a healthy loving Godly husband & father.

  8. Sophia on August 4, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Aleea, yes, yes and yes. And if I have lived a life of people pleasing and am only slowly starting to wake up now, and pursue truth and freedom from that…it will be very uncomfortable and awkward when people around me no longer have their expectations met. It may not ‘feel’ ok because I am not used to the way living in truth feels. This is new territory. After years of living with us my mentally ill mother chaotically and destructively left in Spring. She is being protected and cared for. Boundaries are in place. Yet, she is currently using a distant crisis to try to break through every boundary to get to me and using other people to do so. (Never dealing with the very damaging behaviors that surrounded her leaving.). For the first time I see the lifelong pattern of crisis and chaos on center stage and how all of life responds to that. It is a lie. Because I am a Christ follower I have been expected to be present, to be the rescuer, to be the Savior. In the ‘down’ times I either don’t exist or I am being ripped to shreds. That is over now. Now is a different life of remembering that Christ is the real Savior. I follow Him. Allowing myself to be destroyed by others is not part of God’s plan for me. Saying ‘no’ to the destructive family and even ‘no’ to using patterns by my husband is brand new. The truthful life does not feel right to me because I have never lived it!!! But as I continue to place my eyes on Christ and trust Him it will become easier. Yes there is loss involved and a feeling of loneliness. But truly, people make terrible saviors, and I am tired and done with trying to be one. All the hurt and crisis brings me to being in desperate need of Christ myself, and so I am grateful for the trouble. It is not wasted because I have learned WHAT DOES NOT WORK. The truth really does set us FREE!!! And that is what God is after in His children. He loves us and continues to pursue us and HIS truth in us. #grateful

    • Aleea on August 4, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Hello Sophia,

      “. . . . I have lived a life of people pleasing and am only slowly starting to wake up now, and pursue truth and freedom from that…” I have too and it is so easy to live that way.

      “. . . .Because I am a Christ follower I have been expected to be present, to be the rescuer, to be the Savior. In the ‘down’ times I either don’t exist or I am being ripped to shreds.” Horrible Sophia, just horrible.

      Re: Saying ‘no’ . . . . I understand. . . .And for me it is not just externally saying ‘no’. I have to internally check myself and say ‘no’ even to myself. And a truly compassionate attitude towards ourselves (―internally, in our CORE) is the only way to have it for others. If we get it right internally: boundaries with ourselves and even saying ‘no’ to ourselves all that cycles out into our worlds, even if others behave negatively or try to hurt us.

      “. . . But as I continue to place my eyes on Christ and trust Him it will become easier.” . . .beautiful! . . . .People really are just beautiful when they love, trust and worship Christ. . . . .Sometimes I can just see that so, so clearly.

    • Nancy on August 4, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Sophia, and Aleea too,

      I can so relate, Sophia, to being the one expected to do the rescuing of your mother.

      I am learning that Jesus Christ is not nice. He is Kind. And there is a world of difference between the two. One looks good, the other IS good.

      I am astounded at the behaviour that He is asking of me, with regards to my mother. He is walking with me and showing me how to guard my heart. I am trusting Him more and more because He is not AT ALL interested in me attempting to make her happy, or do what is expected.

      Just this morning, I saw her from a distance. The expectation is that I go over and give her a hug. ‘No’, He told me, ‘just stay where you are and talk from here’. So I did. Everything in me was screaming ‘how RUDE, Nancy. You shouldn’t treat your mother like that!’

      I fell on my face afterwards, before Him, and He showed me that that was HER voice in my head calling me names, not His. He was proud of me for guarding the heart He has entrusted to me. He was proud of me for distancing myself from harm. He was proud of me for distancing myself from my mother.

      How UNCHRISTIAN that sounds. That the thing to do, in my case, is to distance myself from my nice elderly mother!

      I love that Christ is KIND. The steps he asks of me are for my good. They may benefit my mother, they may not, but He is interested in my heart, first. He is showing me how to be the guardian of it. He is showing me how to take responsibility for my well being.

      He is giving me eyes to see what is really going on, and like you, Sophia, I am really beginning to see the destructiveness of the cycle that I was involved in for so long.

      • Aleea on August 4, 2017 at 7:20 pm

        Nancy,

        “. . . .He showed me that that was HER voice in my head calling me names, not His. He was proud of me for guarding the heart He has entrusted to me. He was proud of me for distancing myself from harm. He was proud of me for distancing myself from my mother. How UNCHRISTIAN that sounds. That the thing to do, in my case, is to distance myself from my nice elderly mother!” . . . . that is such an important distinction, ―just who’s voice is it? When I was small, folks would come up to me in my neighborhood and tell me “your mom is so incredibly nice”. I couldn’t believe it, but I didn’t tell them anything. They couldn’t see what was going on: she was an example of a mother who damages her children, who didn’t protect them, who made them feel invisible, responsible for her happiness, blaming instead of validating. . . . But my the victim mentality gets me nothing. I have to do what the Holy Spirit tells me to do and lean into the discomfort. I know better than to fall into the victim mindset but sometimes I do. This usually happens because I have a dis-empowering perspective of the circumstance. I forget or sometimes stop believing about “who we are” in Christ and that God is in control. . . . .I know I have been talking about this a lot lately but I think everything flows from the “C” in CORE, it is just that critical: Jesus was the Truth incarnate. He was total “C”! By telling the truth to our families, our parents, our neighbors, at church, we submit to a lifestyle that speaks reality into being. Instead of taking the easy way out by smoothing over, peacefaking, lying, submitting to a false reality, we choose to uphold a genuine character. This genuine character, no matter what the circumstances, remains faithful to the notion that true being is the best possible consequence in the face of life’s trials, suffering, and spitefulness. . . . .To lie to our mothers, husbands, etc. only leads to chaos. Telling the truth, as best you can (―speaking Grace & Truth), is the duty of every individual for if left unchecked, horrible consequences ensue, the small sin’s of the individual culminate into the great sins of the church. When you tell the truth, everything begins to come together, even if it requires seasons of pain. We can bring forth paradise by speaking the truth and we can start in our own lives, and in the lives of our own families. Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery. Telling the Truth (―Jesus was pure Truth) puts our lives back in His hands to run, not our own hands. . . . .With regards to telling if you are speaking authentically: Listen to yourself talk, as if a stranger was talking. Try not to identify too much with what you are saying. Then, observe. See if what you are saying makes you feel stronger, physically, or weaker. If it makes you feel weaker, stop saying it. Stop peacefaking with family. Try to reformulate your speech until you can feel the ground under your feet solidifying. Then practice only saying things that make you strong in the Lord. If you choose to, stop trying to use your speech to get what you want. If you are like me, you don’t necessarily even know what you want (―not really, not at the deepest CORE levels). Instead, try to articulate what you believe to be true as carefully as possible. Then, accept the outcomes. Accept God guiding your life. Assume that your truth, as lived and spoken, will produce the best possible outcome. It’s an act of faith in Jesus, and full disclosure, it got Jesus killed but that is how powerful it is. Living after truth is incredibly difficult despite the fact that I know smoothing over, peacefaking, lying, submitting to a false reality, only causes more suffering, and that it causes suffering for others in our families when we project false being, . . . .to say things which everyone else believes and adheres to is easy but it doesn’t let Christ run our lives 🙂

      • Sophia on August 4, 2017 at 8:11 pm

        Right! If I stop playing, the game is over. I have cooperated and allowed the chaos to reign. Now I step away and get stronger as a human being. I cannot lose time by lamenting the years (decades) I lived for the praise and acceptance and expectations of those around me. Now, an audience of ONE. Also, the only one who gets a vote on my worth and value.

        • Aleea on August 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

          Absolutely Sophia. . . .

          Re: living in a way that is not acknowledging those behaviors + acting AS IF all is well = FALSE INTIMACY

          “I am thankful that this kind of living is over for me. My choices and behaviors can no longer enable and assist in destructive patterns of others.” . . . .and it is as easy/hard as just telling the truth. But the world runs on lies, small lies and BIG lies, so the Truth is really radical and dangerous stuff. . . .But it is absolutely the only way to let Jesus run our lives. It is actually/really trusting God and not man.

          Sophia, you are bringing in a dimension of this I never deeply thought about “. . .Saying with my life that all the darkness is ok.” So many times words are not even involved: doing lies is as bad as saying them.

          “I lived for the praise and acceptance and expectations of those around me. Now, an audience of ONE. Also, the only one who gets a vote on my worth and value.” . . .Absolutely brilliant, . . . .Jesus had an audience of ONE, His Father. Only God knows why He takes us along these paths. All we can do is keep seeking God in Christ and let Him direct us by being “C”. He loves you, you have the greatest value. He gave His life for all your worth! I’m praying for you!

          re: “Leslie’s books” . . . .Absolutely. . . .from “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship” . . . page 183. . . “The people who know God well—the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover, . . . . . always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. . . . .” . . .And that’s it, God Himself —not joy, —not peace, —not even blessing, —just God (Love = God)! We all want more real, healing love in our lives but that only comes with total body honesty :idea:. Total body honesty deconstructs false structures left, right and center and leaves you with real/authentic being. It leaves your life back in God’s hands, the ground of being. . . . That’s life with meaning! . . . and Joy is the emotional expression of that courageous YES to one’s own true/real/authentic being in Christ. And real joy is happiness of the soul which is “lifted above every circumstance” . . . .but Truth without the way to truth (Christ) is dead. Psychology, including depth psychology, psychosomatics, and social psychology, all of them, equally unable to interfere with knowledge of revelation . . .Okay, I need to go to the Lord, put my head in His lap and just say: “hold me”. . . . .It is so, so *incredibly* meaningful talking to people here. 😛

      • Sophia on August 4, 2017 at 8:13 pm

        Yes, thank you Nancy for this and Aleea.

      • Maria on August 5, 2017 at 6:33 am

        Nancy,
        When I realized a few years ago that God does not call us to be nice, it was huge. He calls us to be kind, look out for another’s good (loving), but not nice.

        • Nancy on August 5, 2017 at 9:33 am

          Yes Maria, this distinction between nice and kind shatters many lies.

          Jesus sat and made a whip. He took it into the temple and used it. People and animals very likely got hurt. He listened to His anger, He acted on it. It was right that He do so.

          That is kindness.

          • Aleea on August 6, 2017 at 7:22 am

            . . . .and it got Him killed, —basically a hundred percent agreement with scholars that, that incident was *the* trigger. . . . .I’m going to pay a price for every last thing I do and everything I don’t do. All of us, we don’t get to choose to not pay a price. We get to choose to pay it for the Truth or the un-Truths: smoothing over, peacefaking, lying, submitting to a false reality, not choosing to uphold a genuine character. . .et.al.



    • Aly on August 6, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Wow Sophia! Love is you wrote about your experience and the freedom!
      Blessings and hugs to you 😉

  9. Sophia on August 4, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Thank you for the point of boundaries to self. I have to think more about that!

  10. Sophia on August 4, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    This is all so very significant. I am learning that it is not the bad behaviors of those around me that are in themselves so damaging…it is living in a way that is not acknowledging those behaviors. And acting AS IF all is well. We learned to do it as children as we ran off to school and smiled for teachers. I continued into adulthood when my husband was hurtful and detached and I trudged into intimacy…NO…FALSE INTIMACY. Saying with my life that all the darkness is ok. I am thankful that this kind of living is over for me. My choices and behaviors can no longer enable and assist in destructive patterns of others. If I have been damaged by your pushing me to the ground emotionally then you will have to excuse me while I step out of your way and brush myself off.

    • Sophia on August 4, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      I say that to say I am learning strength and boundaries in daily tiny steps. This site and Leslie’s books have been crucial in this.

    • Michelle on August 5, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Sophia, when you said, ”
      I continued into adulthood when my husband was hurtful and detached and I trudged into intimacy…NO…FALSE INTIMACY.”

      It really spoke to me. It is extremely true for me right now. I hate it. I feel so bad about it. My H acts so loving and in love with me (especially when he comes back into town), but I just don’t feel the same anymore. So I don’t cause any trouble, its all I can do to go along. I try to feel the same, but I wonder if I even can anymore. I like to think I can; that’s my hope.
      When you said,
      “My choices and behaviors can no longer enable and assist in destructive patterns of others.”
      do you think that’s what happened for you and what is happening because of me? Because of who I am, how I act, and possibly how God made me, that that enables another to be so destructive, with or without intention? Will or could love come back if the behaviors are acknowledged, addressed, and adjusted? Seems like a mind twister to me.

      I do like you last statement, though:
      “If I have been damaged by your pushing me to the ground emotionally then you will have to excuse me while I step out of your way and brush myself off.”
      I’m writing that one down in my journal. Sometimes, you just have to make a simple statement such as that to stand up for yourself. Thank you.

    • Nancy on August 5, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Hi Michelle,

      Leslie talks about being a peace faker versus peace maker.

      The difference? Truth.

      It’s the C of her CORE acronym. The very first step in coming out of the fantasy world we’ve created and maintained for so long is:

      C- being committed to Truth.

      “Acting out of love rather than feeling it, is something that I got out of Biblical counselling” as you posted above. If you are denying your feelings in the process, this isn’t walking in Truth. It’s denial ( more specifically spiritualizing).

      Have you watched Patrick Doyle videos? Have you read Leslie’s book? ( EDM)

      • Michelle on August 6, 2017 at 7:58 am

        Hello Nancy,
        I have read Leslie’s book, and I’ve gone back through different parts of it. I’m feeling the need to review it again, especially CORE. Now’s my chance before my husband comes back home. He’s out of town for his work right now. I have not watched any videos from Patrick Doyle, though. I’ll check into it if I can. I do have children with big eyes and ears.

        I’m trying to decided what exactly makes peacefaker look different from peacemaker.

    • Nancy on August 5, 2017 at 9:16 am

      Sophia,

      ” It’s acting AS IF all is well”. Yes! That’s what ultimately does damage to our personhood.

      Not speaking Truth ( regardless of what the other person says or does).

      • Michelle on August 5, 2017 at 1:50 pm

        I live ‘as if’ all the time. I keep thinking if I’m patient, eventually things will turn around. And since they haven’t as of yet, then there must be more for me to learn while I am here in this ‘state’. I wait to hear an unmistakable word from God. Do I go left, do I go right, or do I just keep going?

  11. Nancy on August 5, 2017 at 9:27 am

    This is so true Aleea,

    Anything else we practice will be largely ineffective, if we do not walk in Truth.

    Regarding your neighbours telling you what a nice mother you had… me too. The problem is because my mother’s abuse is 100% emotional ( covert), until recently ( 5 years ago) I actually BELIEVED that I had a good mother! My gut knew something was terribly wrong, but absolutely everything in my world told me all was well, and even ideal. So I learned to completely disregard my feelings – they were untrustworthy.

    Now, I am so relieved to believe that my feelings are a gift from God- even anger…especially anger. Anger is the signal that motivates action. Anger is the signal that tells me my heart needs guarding.

    The Truth you are speaking about is indeed the foundational element of living in reality – walking with Christ 🙂

    • Aleea on August 6, 2017 at 7:18 am

      . . . .Absolutely. . . .and it is a real head scratcher to try to understand what is the matter with your mother. She can’t see what a beautiful heart you have? I’m blind as a bat and I see it. There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others: praying, caring, loving, sharing, gentleness. . . That is the power of the cross. . . .She can’t see any of that? CORE self-care (with lots of “C”) is how you take your power back.

    • Aly on August 6, 2017 at 11:00 am

      Dear Michelle,

      You wrote a comment above:
      “I live ‘as if’ all the time. I keep thinking if I’m patient, eventually things will turn around. ”

      I can remember believing something very similar about my situation. For me I was ‘shaped early by my mother and father predominantly that if I was patient and loving and ‘yielding’ then the healthy outcome would come.

      This was not true and I was challenged with the ‘ belief of ~ eventually things will turn around, and the person or persons in my life that were taking advantage of me and having destructive selfish behaviors would gain perspective and change.

      Boy was that not the case for me journey~

      By things turning around… I’m wondering what you mean by that exactly?

      For me patience and compromise was the exact opposite of what my h needed for things to turn around.

      Even now, my h can acknowledge that him walking his destructive path.. that he would ever have had a light bulb moment of his behavior because he was so very comfortable in his ‘taking’ and abusing places of our relationship. It was very natural for him to behave that way. This is similar to the examples of the differences to being ‘nice’ and kind.
      Doing the man honoring thing verses doing the God honoring thing. We are called to follow and honor God and in doing so creates a lot of conflict and any peace faking is revealed for what it is.

      Those that choose peace faking… will continue to choose other peace fakers to feel a sense of community and call it love.
      When it’s false love overall. The Petrie dish of dysfunctional family systems.

      • Michelle on August 6, 2017 at 8:57 pm

        I think that’s a big part of the problem. My h is so comfortable in his behavior, it comes so natural, so ‘what could be wrong with that’? Why all of a sudden does he need to change anything?

        A little background here…He is about 9 years older than me. We married when he was 46. We are coming up on 8 years now. He had never been married before. I brought three children to the marriage, and then we had one together. There is favoritism, blatant favoritism, towards my youngest. My older two don’t get the good attention they need from him, and by now, they could care less. They are now teenagers and disinterested and wishes he would just leave. And he can’t seem to understand that, now that he’s ‘trying’. It’s a vicious cycle. To leave would be horrible and confusing for my youngest, to stay is horrible and confusing for my older two. My older two are in counseling, again.
        I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to think. I always want to believe the best and be hopeful. I don’t want to give up. I want to be a good example to my children about perseverance and not giving up and living the life of grace. I have read and heard so many different things…

        • Aly on August 6, 2017 at 9:29 pm

          Dear Michelle,

          I am hoping others will chime in here. Your in good company ~ many of us have such similar storylines.
          My h is also much older (a decade) than me but I was fairly young when I married him.
          Age rarely creates maturity I found out later in life experiences.

          You wrote this:
          “And he can’t seem to understand that, now that he’s ‘trying’. It’s a vicious cycle. To leave would be horrible and confusing for my youngest, to stay is horrible and confusing for my older two.”

          I think it’s important to see that there are many other options other than leaving or not leaving.
          I’m not sure where you get that those are the only options overall, but being that your in a destructive cycle I can empathize that your emotions are going to struggle regulating at times. I’ve been there too. Take time to seek to better evaluate your situation and get equipped with knowledge about your situation ~ its powerful. Are you getting christian counseling on your own?

          Youwrote:
          “My older two are in counseling, again.
          I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to think. I always want to believe the best and be hopeful. I don’t want to give up.”

          Making choices that serve as love and protection for what’s best for you and your h are far from giving up, believing in the best and being hopeful is imp but it also can drag you into a cycle of abuse with your h.
          What is your hope about? Is it wishful thinking or is their evidence of behavior given by your h for you to place your hope in?

          I would highly recommend watching Patrick Doyle videos and listening or reading plenty on boundaries in marriage book and The book How we love.
          I say How we love book because your h is showing efforts of trying but falls back into his comfortable behavior pattern.
          I also believe these things take lots of professional counseling and healthy boundaries to untangle and re establish any possible new marital outcome.

          My marriage changed when I changed. My h was free to choose his choices but I was going on my path with the Lord with or without him.

          Lord, my prayer for Michelle is that she seek YOU and your heart where she will be safe to explore her fears with you and in community so she can pursue healing and restoration for herself and model that for her children💕

          Michelle, He will equip you and He will set your path and my hope is for a healthy marriage for you and that might be also God’s will.

  12. Aly on August 6, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Aleea,
    So agree! I feel that the danger is also in being surrounded by ‘peace fakers’, the more natural and normal it might feel to ‘peacefake’ or get pulled into that posture.

    This is why I just love how Jesus was such a savior and modeled that peacemakers are the ‘sons of God’.

    The truth is critical to all our journeys and if the truth threatens a relationship ‘loss’ than is there really a ‘relationship there to begin with?
    I think Jesus spoke and acted in accepting many that decided against the relationship, but there was an invitation.
    💟

    • Aleea on August 7, 2017 at 11:13 am

      . . . Absolutely, Aly. . . . .But I understand why people, —why pastors, —why whole churches engage in peacefaking. The Truth is just so, so radical. . . .and the Truth deconstructs *everything* in its path. The Truth really is a sword not a flower. Peacefaking and all the variants of escape responses share all the predictable characteristics: When I resort to escape responses, I’m generally focused on me, —not good. I’m looking for what is easy, convenient, or nonthreatening for myself. Using an escape response usually means I’m intent on peacefaking, trying to make things look good even when they aren’t. Peacefaking is really caring more about the appearance of reality than what’s really, really real —real reality, —reality that comes from above. Frankly, I’m afraid of too much reality myself . . . .but with Christ’s help, we always have to go for the Truth, at home, at church, wherever, even if it sends the whole thing crashing down around us. The truth is just fire, a two-edged sword that radically deconstructs power structures. At first that seems useful, —very helpful, but then it starts burning in what looks an out-of-control fashion and even burning the dead wood off of us :'( We (I) forget that following Christ is the total opposite of what most would see as safe. . . .So, when Jesus carries me <3, I always go for the truth. Truth is what can stand up to ANY level of questioning:!: All truth is safe, but nothing else is safe. It will not endure, it leaves no positive legacy:star:

  13. Aly on August 6, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Aleea, beautifully written! Yes!! What you described is the experience and the knowledge of having your core identity and worth being anchored in Christ alone!

    Being a child of God, authenticity becomes critical to remaining in His truth and Love!
    He doesn’t do counterfeits as you know!
    So excited for your resting in His lap and seeing more and more of His love for his precious daughter Aleea;)

  14. Aleea on August 7, 2017 at 11:51 am

    “He doesn’t do counterfeits as you know!”

    Thank you Aly. . . .the company of wolves, *is* better than the company of wolves in sheep’s clothing. . . . but given people’s shadow selves, maybe it is the same thing. I don’t think that we have any insight whatsoever into our capacity for good until we have a really well-developed insight into our capacity for evil. There’s an overwhelming probability if we lived in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s, that we would’ve been perpetrators and Nazis. An overwhelming probability! And if we can’t accept that, because it’s a historical fact, we have absolutely no idea who we really are. We need to be high in conscientiousness in our relationship with Christ and really know our own capacity for evil because our inner shadow selves (and everyone has them) go all the way down to hell. We have to embrace our inner monsters at every level; that’s one way of thinking about it. . . .We have to be willing to give up our lives to save our lives. . . .And we just don’t know the upper limits of the good we can do until we sort ourselves out, take full responsibility, carry the heaviest loads we can pick up and bear the sufferings of Christ so that our lives will have meaning.

  15. Aly on August 7, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Aleea,
    So well written! Could not agree more~ even Jesus told his disciples to get a sword.

    What you describe above is the PAYOFF for peacefaking peace keeping etc., there are so many women I have come across in my own church and other circles that believe in ‘peacekeeping’ /peacefaking’ as an honorable thing to do for the kingdom, for their husband’s for their families….and it’s absolutely wrong, it is coming ‘from an injury’ and something that has been modeled throughout our times as ‘healthy and loving’ it isn’t loving to enable destructive behaviors and call that good and patient Godly submitted. It’s twisting scriptures to align to comfort and not deal with realities. My own mother believes in this and spreads her testimony to others early in their faith journey.

    I believe God is rising up strong courageous women to counter these false beliefs of peace faking and in the process many women are finding their true love~Him and His ways are the safest and securest way to follow.

    Grace and truth are the core areas of the gospel message for our freedom in Christ!
    Grace and peacefaking do not honor God~ they are in conflict with what the Gospel reveals for our hearts and our transformation process. Jesus continued to show his disciples what the cost was at peacemaking.

    • Aleea on August 8, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      “. . . .Grace and peacefaking do not honor God~ they are in conflict with what the Gospel reveals for our hearts and our transformation process. Jesus continued to show his disciples what the cost was . . . . . “

      Absolutely Aly, so, so true. . . . .so many people here, like you, have such beautiful, kind hearts. . . .Telling the truth, wow, it is the only way to live but it means truckloads of conflict. I’m okay with some conflict but once the flames are forty-feet high and everything is on fire, I really become frightened. The truth is the weapon in a great battle between good and evil, love and nihilism, moving the church “hellward” or “heavenward.” I most certainly *many times* do not know what is true. Christianity is very complex and much is lost to antiquity. . . . But one thing we can all, always do, is not lie, not peacefake or pretend to know things we don’t know (—That applies to pastors and the rest of us in churches too.) Following Jesus brings a heavy responsibility, because with every last action we take, we are deciding between moving our worlds and our communities “hellward” or “heavenward.” Speech (—especially in church settings) must be untrammeled so that dialogue can take place, so that we can all *humbly* learn, so that the truth can serve love, so that suffering can be ameliorated and so that we can all stumble forward towards the Kingdom of God. . . .A good marriage needs absolute free speech between parents (I’m not a parent but I see this issue with families at my Bible church). Only if both told the other the truth as they saw it can they form a unified front to resist their children’s challenges. But that wall of resistance to childish willfulness also makes the kids secure. . . . .When children push the limits as they inevitably will, they won’t find something spongy and decayed and weak. They find something strong and sturdy and Christ-like. They are protected by that wall and that stops them from being anxious and destroying their lives and it is such good modeling behavior!!! . . . Again, I’m not a parent, so maybe that is wrong, but I do know that telling the truth (—as best we know how with grace and love) deconstructs and deweaponizes unsupportable patriarchy. —But it also sets everything on fire and fires frighten me because I have a lot of dead wood too.

    • Aleea on August 10, 2017 at 9:03 am

      I apologize Aly, I didn’t see this earlier. . . .

      “I’m wondering how you might describe how God sees you Aleea?”

      That really made me think. . . . .Honestly, as a dirty, rotten, filthy sinner that deserves the fires of Hell. That is as honest as I know how. I contribute nothing to my salvation except the sin that made it necessary. —I hear Jesus all the time in my head, Luke 17, et.al.-style: “So you also, when you have done *all* that you were commanded, say, we are totally worthless servants; we have only done our duty.” I originally wrote out all the why of that analyzing 46 plus N.T. Bible passages but its too long, too hard-hitting and too depressing to post. If you want to know why, see “Fundamentalism” by Dr. James Barr. . . . . Professor Barr really lays that out using scriptures and church history. James Barr is Professor of Hebrew & Greek Bible at Vanderbilt Divinity School. He also shows how Christians reconfigure God along the way to make Him fit with advancements in morals, psychology, all fields *but* Bible-based Christianity is, in fact, very regressive. . . . .I know people have basically re-written the Bible to say what they want it to say but that’s not how Christians through the ages, people with access to Bible manuscripts no longer extant read those passages. . . . and if you can get just anything out of the Bible, well what do we really know? . . . .So, there is the issue as truthfully as I can put it Aly. . . . .I am hopelessly in love with Jesus Christ. I’m never going to get over Him. The core of Christianity, it is so, so beautiful but it is all laced with fear for my family members, fear for my co-workers, fear for everyone I see on the streets all over the world who are not Christians, everyone I talk to that tells me they are not Christians and if you have spent much time talking to people out in the world about Jesus, you realize they are really good at deconstructing Him. They see all the issues and I’m a mess from it all. . . . . and you don’t want just echo chambers (sometimes like we have even on this blog), you want the best arguments on each side. You want to make an iron woman out of all arguments, not a straw woman out of them, that is, I believe honest and the only way to the Truth.

      Much love and prayers,
      Aleea

    • Aleea on August 10, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      JoAnn/ Aly,
      . . . .Thank you both! I appreciate both of your thoughts, very helpful. . . . .My counselor’s Ph.D. dissertation in psychology was on how people view God. —Just like their dominant parent. . . .I hear my mother in everything God says: “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, We are totally unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” . . . .My mother was a monster and as my counselor says “We view God like we view our parents.” . . . I don’t know how many times I have worked through “Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend” and the wonderful Compassion CDs that goes with it. On that CD, Kim Fredrickson says that “God desperately loves us.” That always just shocks me. I think, “God desperately, I mean, d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-e-l-y loves me! —that is really so wonderful!!!” ―Now, how do I consistently believe it? I can’t just start believing that I am, say, Joan-of-Arc. . . . So, here is the way I look at it: God cannot be disappointed in me because I have no way of surprising Him. He is not temperamental, touchy and violent (―like my mother when I was growing up) because that would make Him human like me. He is never surprised by my actions. Instead of disgust, He reaches out to pick me back up so I can start over and over and over. He is patient and kind. Anyways, I delight in the fact that He knows my heart, because that means I know that He knows I always want a deeper relationship with Him. . . .but the Bible. . . the actual Bible passages are often full of vitriolic trigger words that block my ability to see God seeing me that way. . . . .The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive insults, that I love my enemies in the name of Christ, all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover (―as I have) that I am the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy of myself ―all these are within me, and I stand in need of the alms of my own kindness ―I myself am the enemy who must be loved ―what then? As a rule, the Christian attitude is then reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the sister within us “Raca,” and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world. We refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves. “. . . . He sees a beautiful, clean child of God, who He paid the ultimate price to cleanse and to gain.” ―Absolutely, He sees that but I don’t see Him seeing that and that’s the truth. The biggest critic lives in my perception of God’s perception of me rather than God’s perception of me. God says “I wish you could see what I see when I look at you.” ―Then please, please make it so, Lord God, ―your God! . . .You can do anything!

    • Aleea on August 11, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Thank you Aly for taking all that time to think about what I said and write that 💕❤💕 💗🙏!

      “But here is the question.. our are eyes on Him and His Holiness or are they on our impurities that feel so unfitting for a Righteous King? What is our focus?” . . . .Christ is my Lord because He has no need of my goodness. Maybe I am wrong, but I think if we don’t delight in the fact that our Father is holy, holy, holy, then we are spiritually dead. If there is no delight in our soul for the holiness of God, we don’t know God. We don’t love God. We are out of touch with, asleep to, His character. Aly, how can I see that and feel good about myself? —I feel ☢ ☠. . .

      “. . . .but God uses relationships not just with Himself but with others to heal!” . . . .Absolutely, your relationship with me for example.

      “Aleea, He did make it so with Jesus! He did;) . . . .Aleea, I say this with Love and prayer for your journey ~ Your inner critic is not above God’s perception and truth, put your inner critic in the correct place and anchor God’s ability to know better, why? Because of who He is. Why? Because of what His promises are!” . . . .I guess I don’t understand that part. Aly, if we saw God we would simply be consumed . . . .How could I see that and believe I reflect what is holy and good? Aly, maybe not for you, but as I grow in the knowledge of God’s holiness, even though I am growing in the practice of holiness, it seems the gap between my knowledge and my practice always gets wider and wider. ☢ + ☠ vs.♛ endless gap!

      Even my tears of repentance need to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. The more righteous God appears, the more resentful I become even though I feel a Christ-centered, Christ-seeking, Christ-serving, Christ-adoring heart inside of me. I simply cannot be satisfied with myself after understanding even a little of the holiness of God.

    • Aleea on August 11, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Thank you Aly, I think I understand. . . . .When you say “. . . .let God be the one setting the standards” I know you know that the Bible is not written in modern English. Those are very ancient languages and they require lots of text and context interpretations. The interpretations are only as infallible as the person interpreting them. For example, Jesus spoke Aramaic, the Gospels are in Koine Greek. Many things you see in Greek don’t even have equivalents in Aramaic, —that is a lot of slippage just there. Also, God says different things in different places. If it were straightforward, would we have all of denominations with very fundamental differences on so many things that we have? . . . .It is a *huge* problem even for the most conservative, evangelical, fundamental scholars re: “Authenticating the Words and the Activities of Jesus, Volume 2” by Dr. Bruce Chilton and Dr. Craig Evans. What do you think would be a good way we could use to know, and know that we know? 😊 💕 . . .I appreciate you Aly and value your words and thoughts. I just want to know and know that I know and that’s not easy for me.

    • Content on August 12, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      “If you look for it, all through the New Testament, we are told that Christ is our righteousness, He is our life, our Redeemer, etc. He is everything to us and in us. Do you need patience? Christ is the patient one in you. Do you need to be more loving? The God who is LOVE lives in your spirit. Whatever we need, HE IS. Praise Him!”

      Amen, Joann!

      You know what? It is a hard thing for most Christians to understand this, because sadly, we don’t hear a lot of this truth even in preaching today and in our church gatherings. We hear a Christianized version of “do more and live this way and then we’ll be what we should be”. Well, good luck. We will never ever arrive then.

      It is the very reason Jesus came. Yes, the divide is vast….greater than we could even imagine….there is no hope apart from what God did for us through Jesus on the cross.

      But once He did it – and uttered the cry “It is finished!” – the gap was gone, the veil was torn. There is no more separation. It really doesn’t matter how we feel about how the separation because what matters is what God has said. And He has claimed us for His own, He has declared us to be worthy and righteous in His sight. He has said we are as one with Him as Jesus was one with the Father. This is the truth of the gospel, and this is why it is SUCH GOOD NEWS!!!! How can it get any better than this? It can’t.

      There is nothing left to do, the only thing and work we are to do as believers is to believe and to rest in what God has said.

      For all believers who struggle with the idea that they will never measure up, this is your hope. Daring to believe what God has said about you and about the sufficiency of His death for us at the cross will change your life forever.

      I am blessed know a pastor and have been under his teaching from almost the beginning of my Christian walk. His teaching comes strongly from the foundation of the “Christ in you” message….and he has posted sermons online. I love his preaching and the encouragement from listening to his sermons.

      http://www.stevepettitmessages.com

      (Also, interestingly, I spoke with this pastor right as I was starting to understand the reality of my husband’s deception in our marriage. He gave me some very solid advice and I will never forget that here was this mature, older brother in Christ who encouraged me to “let your righteous anger motivate you to take the steps you need to take for your marriage.” He encouraged me to think carefully about any boundaries I set and to make sure that I followed through with them so that I would not lose even more respect in my husband’s eyes. And, he also uttered words that, at the time, were shocking to me….That he believed that I would not be making an unholy choice to divorce if my husband would not “get back into bounds” of what it meant to be in a marriage.

      But, anyway, I digress…..

      The main point is — we are truly free in Christ. The freedom is from the guilt and condemnation of our sin. That is what Christ came for! To set us free. He took all of that on Himself. I love that our sins have been hurled into the depths of the sea, to be remembered no more.

      There is freedom here, sisters. It’s ours for the taking. And, I believe we have a God who doesn’t want us groveling even in thankfulness for His gift. He wants us dancing in delight and just loving Him back.

      • JoAnn on August 12, 2017 at 9:57 pm

        Amen, Sister! Well said.

    • Content on August 12, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      Just wanted to say that on that link to sermons, that there are links to messages from the Dan Stone Retreat and so some of those messages were given by Frank Friedmann and not Steve Pettit – the name is noted in parenthesis.

    • Aleea on August 13, 2017 at 3:41 am

      re: JoAnn

      “. . . look up the word “partakers” is a concordance and see all the verses that tell us that we, the believers in Christ, are partakers of His divine nature” ✔ . . . .okay, that takes *a while* and it is confusing because it is *a lot* of different words. . . .but yes, very good point!!! “to have a share of, to share with, parternership with”; “are partakers of,”; “partaketh in”; “partaking together with”; et.al.

      . . . .The more we partake of the divine nature, the more we shall escape the corruption that is in the world. I get that. . . . .I guess it never occurred to me that when I enjoy God, I partake of the riches of His being. . . .but I don’t totally get that because I am constituted with His divine nature, becoming the same as God in life and nature but not in the Godhead!!! That is really weird. . . .JoAnn, some of those usages “sunkoinoneo” ✔ et.al. “to participate in; share of” “koinos” ✔ “common ownership, a partner” basically mean: “I Am Christ”. The cognitive crucifixion of the believer’s ego to make way for their psychological resurrection. . . . The words suggest that each individual is her own savior and a savior to others. We save ourselves when we learn to think on our own, free from the prejudices, distortions, and the deadening numbness of the law.

      “Do you need to be more loving?” . . . .yes, 😥I need to be more loving ۵. . . . “The God who is LOVE lives in your spirit. Whatever we need, HE IS. Praise Him! ” . . . .We partake in God’s nature and we partake in God’s divinity. . . .but it dawned on me as I was looking at all those passages that the angels cannot participate in God’s divinity as we do. Unless someone just made that up and wrote it down, we are more blessed than the angels, for they are merely God’s servants, but we are God’s daughters (sons actually, the Bible rarely uses daughters), possessing God’s divinity.

      If we partake of God’s divine nature, we partake of His holiness. That’s just beautiful. Human nature unites with the divine nature in us when the Holy Spirit descends on us? . . . .this is raising humans to the level of Christ . . .It is at least partial deification of man/woman on the grounds that the nature of humans is united with the nature of God! JoAnn, believers can have their moments, but I don’t see that in myself or others most of the time. Most Christians are *not* like that under even a modicum of stress. i.e. a vast discrepancy between a system of beliefs and the truth that it claims to represent. . . .But you are correct. . . God’s nature is divine, yet it is a nature *we can* partake of here on earth. Thank you JoAnn. 😊 💕

    • Aleea on August 13, 2017 at 4:09 am

      . . . .Hello Content

      Yes to this: “You know what? It is a hard thing for most Christians to understand this, because sadly, we don’t hear a lot of this truth even in preaching today and in our church gatherings. We hear a Christianized version of “do more and live this way and then we’ll be what we should be”. Well, good luck. We will never ever arrive then.” . . . .Absolutely we will totally fail doing “more”. I’ll never be anything more than what Christ makes me. 💗🙏

      “There is nothing left to do, the only thing and work we are to do as believers is to believe and to rest in what God has said.” . . . Be, not Do. Yes!

      “The main point is — we are truly free in Christ. The freedom is from the guilt and condemnation of our sin. That is what Christ came for! To set us free. He took all of that on Himself. I love that our sins have been hurled into the depths of the sea, to be remembered no more.” . . . . All the things in my heart for so long need to fall in the sea of forever gone. . .

      “There is freedom here, sisters. It’s ours for the taking. And, I believe we have a God who doesn’t want us groveling even in thankfulness for His gift. He wants us dancing in delight and just loving Him back.” ♪ ♫ ♩♫ ♪ ♬ Absolutely. Thank you Content!

    • Aleea on August 13, 2017 at 4:40 am

      Aly,

      Thank you so much for your thoughts . . . .I’ve lost control of the entire thread and don’t know what is where. As it stands, my desire for a reasonably sized phone means I’m limited to phones with a 5-inch display to have sufficiently slim bezels. . . .Anyways, it is only when I get into the hotel room, get the laptop out -huge 24 inch screen on that- that I realize, wow, that message was just right here or there. ✈ 💟 💜 . . . Also I have been re-reading, Defeating Depression by Leslie . . . this is great p. 200 “. . . . The remedy for unbelief is trust. He tells us, “Trust me with your whole heart. Don’t depend upon your own way of looking at things. In every way look for me and I will direct your steps” . . . .Jesus told his disciples,“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” . . . . Trust Jesus. This sounds too simple, yet Jesus tells us that when we trust him, we don’t get so rattled by life . . . . The opposite of trust is unbelief.” —Also, this is a great book that I am currently reading: What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care?: Answers to the Big Questions of Life by Edward T. Welch . . . . carefully, surgically, exposes people-pleasing for what it is: Sin! Great book!!!!! . . . For ALL of us our value comes simply in the fact that we live, period. Life is a gift only God could ever give. We are valuable and special simply because we are here, period. . . . —Christ loves us. We have the greatest value. He gave His life for all we are worth. . . . Or as Leslie said in the post “I Hate Me And I Love Him – What’s Wrong?” June 17, 2015 by Leslie Vernick — “. . . . . What if I told you that I know for sure that although you are not perfect, you are beautiful, precious, valuable, worthwhile, important, and special? How do I know that? —Because God says it. He’s the final authority on who you are and who you were meant to be, not your husband, not your mother, not your father, not even you. Therefore what God calls good we must value and take good care of. You have vast value and worth to God. You are deeply and fully loved by Him. God desires to give you a clean slate by forgiving you and bringing you into a close relationship with Him. You belong to Him, he adopts you into His family. Your life has meaning and purpose. You are not an accident. . . . . If you want to heal, make me a promise. From today forward the words you choose to use with yourself and the words you choose to listen to and believe are going to be life giving words of God’s truth.” —I absolutely love that!!! Why is it so hard to believe that!!! ؟ 😥

    • Aleea on August 14, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      Thank you JoAnn,

      “. . . . Some of the women on this blog are having a hard time deciding what to do about their destructive relationships. Perhaps realizing their identification with Christ and His identification with them, will help to empower them to obey His leading for their lives. May it be so.” . . . Absolutely, I want Christ, not my or other people’s interpretations of Christ. My questions have nothing to do with theology; they are all centered around epistemology, around the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from churches and people’s own opinions. Interpretations can only be as inerrant as the persons interpreting. . . . .Is faith a reliable way to arrive at knowledge claims or is evidence better? Is evidence a better way of getting to the Truth? . . . .And I’m not asking you to answer those questions, I am just explaining my position, which has nothing to do with theology. Theology is mostly evidence-free speculation. . . . .Thank you for taking your time to interact with me JoAnn, very helpful. . . . .much love, Aleea🌷❧ ♡ ۵

    • Nancy on August 14, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Aleea ( Aly, Joann too),

      As I read your comment to Aly saying, ” the more righteous God appears, the more resentful I become…”, a quote that I have on my fridge came to mind:

      ” go forward always with confidence, without letting yourself be touched by the grief of a sensitive pride which cannot bear to see itself imperfect”

      For me, that ‘gap’ that you speak of doesn’t have to do with an inability to know I’m forgiven, or to ‘forgive myself’, or even to know that I’m loved. For me, that gap is me experiencing a fall each time I am confronted with my own humanity.

      For me, that gap has to do with my inability to accept myself as the imperfect being that I am. For me, it is a pride issue 🙁

      My prayer is that The Lord will enable me to accept myself for who I am.

    • Aleea on August 15, 2017 at 7:07 am

      . . . .thank you so much Nancy, very, *very* helpful thoughts even if painful. 😊 💕

      “. . . .that gap has to do with my inability to accept myself as the imperfect being that I am. For me, it is a pride issue” . . . .well, that is just disgusting. I work hard to be humble (pride too?), serve the least and now I probably have a pride issue too?! 😥

      “. . . . by the grief of a sensitive pride which cannot bear to see itself imperfect” . . . .Yes, true but I see myself as imperfect *lots* every single day. I mean, I know how imperfect I am. . . . but I can’t bear to see myself that way? . . . .Maybe that is deeper than I think. I’ll have to give that way more thought.

      “. . . . that ‘gap’ that you speak of doesn’t have to do with an inability to know I’m forgiven, or to ‘forgive myself’, or even to know that I’m loved. For me, that gap is me experiencing a fall each time I am confronted with my own humanity.” . . . .I don’t “know” that the way you do Nancy. I have structural ⌘ issues. . . .

      . . . .Bear with me but it’s also just disgusting that it is always our problem, never God’s failure to communicate things. e.g. “No Version of Christianity is Likely the True Account of Reality” Chapter 07: What We’ve Got Here is a Failure to Communicate. . . .Arrogance is a weed that grows marvelously on a dunghill and God just hates it. We all need to be humble. . . . .maybe somehow I have not made peace with that being “imperfect”. I certainly have not made peace with that with God’s Word: . . . .This morning in my Bible, Hebrews 2:9 . . . it easily could have originally read that Jesus died “apart from God” (χωρίς) 😥, as opposed to “by the grace of God” (χάρις). It is only a difference only between two letters–omega and alpha– but such variants (and the Word-of-God is just full of them) have significant implications. Stating that Jesus died “apart from God” may be an echo of Jesus’ last words in Mark (15:34) and Matthew (27:46). That is really important because the longer ending in Mark 16:9-20 is not found in any early manuscripts, which is historically significant, because if this passage is excluded there are no descriptions of Jesus’ post-mortem appearances in the Gospel of Mark 😥 (our earliest gospel). That means that such details are only found in the much later gospels, which could easily reflect ☞ growing legendary development. . . .I just don’t get it because I *totally* know how imperfect I am, at *all* levels. I’m a mess but . . . . .but I expect God to be and communicate perfectly. . . . .More pride? or real issues, I don’t know.

      “My prayer is that The Lord will enable me to accept myself for who I am.” . . . .Would you *please* pray 💗🙏 for that for me too? I know people’s time is so limited but I’ll pray that for you too and also I’ll pray to be healed of that pride of perfectionism myself. Anyways, thank you so much Nancy. I just love talking to people here. It is so meaningful to talk about meaningful, important things that have to do with deep healing! ✈ 💟 💜

    • Nancy on August 15, 2017 at 11:28 am

      I will pray it for you, Aleea ❤️

    • Nancy on August 22, 2017 at 8:20 am

      Insight (tree of knowledge) does not produce cure (Life).

      Cure (tree of Life) produces insight (knowledge).

      This is what having child like faith is: needing no more evidence than the Peace He brings when we climb into His lap. The Peace you feel when Rev 1:18 comes to your HEART, Aleea – that’s the trail of evidence to stay on.

      It’s about sticking to the path of Peace, and learning to avoid those things that create internal chaos that ( and chaos is super tempting to those of us who grew up in it).

      • JoAnn on August 22, 2017 at 2:01 pm

        Yes, Nancy, that sense of peace is the best guide. Child-like faith. So many things to believe, consider, but the peace that comes with “child-like faith” is the best guide.

  16. Sophia on August 7, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Hi Michelle, I am really sorry for the stress in your home and probable confusion in your teenagers. One great thing I was thinking about today was they are getting to learn how you deal with life, how to get help, how to live in truth. This in itself is so precious and will serve them well as life goes on. My h is 8 years older than me, this last week inbetween two rough days (he disconnects emotionally and can be very hurtful) I had this moment of resting my head on his shoulder. This never happened before because I don’t have much trust or security. My counselor asked, why the incongruity for me??? It is so thought provoking. It is like asking ‘why would you hand your favorite kitten to someone who tripped you yesterday and might trip you tomorrow?’ I have to answer this question for myself. Mostly, I believe my answer will be my whole life I behave that way because I am a survivor. BUT it doesn’t help my h or myself on the road to healing and wholeness. No truth here. It truly is INCONGRUOUS BEHAVIOR. That is why I am here. To try to learn a different way to live.

    • Michelle on August 8, 2017 at 6:22 am

      Hello Sophia,

      I have wondered often when I see people act differently from what you would expect considering their circumstance. Then when I consider my own, I realize a lot of times it is because we are still living with the hope that it will get better. It’s kind of like speaking something into being. Speaking positive in a most negative situation. You wish you could trust your h enough to be comfortable and vulnerable to lay your head on his shoulder. So in a moment of trying, you do it. I’ve done it. But, you’re right, it doesn’t actually help anything. If anything at all, it gives a false sense of hope fulfilled or something. I don’t know. Usually, something will happen later that makes me sorry I ever did that. So, incongruity, it happens in this mixed up mess.

      • Aly on August 8, 2017 at 7:31 am

        Dear Michelle and Sophia,

        Yes I agree Michelle! It does show false sense of hope as you described. I can myself remember being there and what it was actually doing to my very immature h ‘at the time’ was ‘feeding’ his entitlement issues that I didn’t realize were part of the main issue.

        My behavior (leaning toward a non repented immature person) and my insecurity and need for resolution and closeness actually got me further from true peace and the authentic safe place in my marriage I was wanting and I believe I was worth.

        When we feed the entitled person, that entitlement and any abusive posture grows and they grow further away from accountability and any form of taking responsibility for their part. Now I’m not saying I went drastic and was cold, or mean. I went kind and distant with lots of requirements that my h needed to do to get help for areas that he didn’t learn in his growing up years that are essential. Essential to being a healthy adult, a healthy marital partner and a healthy father.

        In some ways, I felt like I had a husband~granted he was almost a decade older than me but inside he had a teenage brain and responses of that of a teen. Over time this was affirmed in patterns and how he responded to circumstances.
        Even simple circumstances.

        I think what helped me was to consider what motivated me to draw close to someone who treated me with such disregard and was not a safe person. He had the title of husband, but didn’t have the character and maturity needed for that role.

        I am ever so grateful for the long term help and love that we were able to receive through the years.

        • Sophia on August 8, 2017 at 8:49 am

          Thank you Aly for this description. The emotional immaturity in my h coupled with all my enabling and rescuing have led to this very unhealthy picture for us. My hope is that God can work His transforming change in me as a His daughter. Every arrow points there.

      • Rebecca on August 13, 2017 at 7:24 am

        Sophia and Michelle, I like the thread of this discussion. At times I think, I will just go back to my destructive husband to have the things I lost. Like money, a home, someone to pay for dinner or shovel the snow etc. It gets tiring facing life alone. Yet the truth is a return to my husband would be pleasant for an hour or two and then his behaviors would return. I get it though. Leaving a destructive relationship takes strength and courage. The outcome, although markedly improved in many ways, still had it’s loses.

  17. Aly on August 8, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Dear Aleea,

    Your post makes a lot of sense to me;)
    You wrote,
    “but I do know that telling the truth (—as best we know how with grace and love) deconstructs and deweaponizes unsupportable patriarchy. —But it also sets everything on fire and fires frighten me because I have a lot of dead wood too.”

    Yes I agree and hope it might be ok to add, “deconstructs, deweaponizes unsupportable ‘unhealthy’ ‘destructive’ & ‘abusive’ patriarchy.

    And yes Aleea I too have plenty of drudge to have burned~

    I’m wondering how you might describe how God sees you Aleea?
    Do you think he sees you with dead wood.. or do you think he sees you as a beloved precious daughter? Worth dying for…
    Someone saved by the blood of Jesus’ works, something that you received as a eternal gift.

  18. JoAnn on August 10, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Aleea, I am going to challenge your response to Aly’s question. You know those one-way mirrors that are used in observation rooms? The person that is being observed sees herself in the mirror….ugly, dirty, sinful, etc. But the One on the other side, our precious Lord who died to wipe out our sins, He sees a beautiful, clean child of God, who He paid the ultimate price to cleanse and to gain. In our relationship with Him, yes, we acknowledge that we are nothing, that our natural state is abhorrent to the Lord, but at the same time, because of His shed blood, we are qualified to approach the throne of grace, and even be seated there with Him! When seen in this light, we are not proud, but we can say with Paul, “not I but Christ.”

    • Aly on August 10, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      JoAnn, Aleea too
      Thank you for your reply, I would not have been able to articulate what I feel most and seem most truthful to ‘how God sees His own!
      Thank you so much 💜

  19. Aly on August 11, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Dear Aleea,

    Thank you for posting here such deep understandings in my opinion of ‘seeing our impurities’ the closer we move to understand our purpose for His Kingdom, done only through His power and will.

    As I read your post, I feel like I get you.. like I understand and yet I still want to know more and make sure I’m not misinterpreting something…. due to my own lack of foggy places on my lens.

    You wrote:
    “We view God like we view our parents.” . . . I don’t know how many times I have worked through “Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend” and the wonderful Compassion CDs that goes with it. ”

    Yes I agree we view God, like we viewed our parents as our brains and development was being shaped, and this was an ‘origin’ place but not a final dwelling spot~ especially as we become separated from that childhood place and form our adult identities in Him.

    Now, many parents (even Christian professing parents are not formed in their identity in Christ~ to even be able to offer that blessing to their children early on) some do, but more and more of the repeated generational patterns and brokens reveal more truth of this deep issue!

    My heart and prayers go out to you Aleea, as you are able to articulate many of the struggles we see in ourselves the closer we see Him. But here is the question.. our are eyes on Him and His Holyness or are they on our impurities that feel so unfitting for a Righteous King?
    What is our focus?

    You mention that you don’t know how many times you have worked through your inner critic…? I can understand this from a different angle being married to a precious man who I love, and watching the inner critic the inner fear come and take over and over and over.
    Did he have monsters for parents? I’m not thinking so but the neglect & abandonment of critical things by them created such Insecurity and fear. He far didn’t have the healthy deposits needed for him to want to release that inner critic or fear based child within, so what does one do with that other than marinate in seeking the Lord and His truths!

    See we tend to all have the same problem of sorts where we have been harmed and injured by relationships, but God uses relationships not just with Himself but with others to heal!

    So when you say you have worked through this So many times ~ I get you;) I understand this, it makes sense to me and it’s ok. My h would run to that inner critic and run to the fear responses because to him that part of him was ‘Known’ and it was safe to him.. but not really the kind of safety that the Lord wanted him to experience.

    If your willing think of our brain and heart needing more deposits of healthy and true thoughts of who you actually are! Not how you coped when you were being raised to see who you were through your mothers ‘distorted lens’.

    God can not nor will not see through your mothers Distorted lens, He will keep handing you His lens and His truths patiently making deposits as you become increasingly comfortable grabbing His lens and not your mothers’.

    You wrote beautifully by the way the truth about our fallen place, but also how God sees us as His own;

    “We hide it from the world. We refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves. “. . . . He sees a beautiful, clean child of God, who He paid the ultimate price to cleanse and to gain.” ―Absolutely, He sees that but I don’t see Him seeing that and that’s the truth. The biggest critic lives in my perception of God’s perception of me rather than God’s perception of me. God says “I wish you could see what I see when I look at you.” ―Then please, please make it so, Lord God, ―your God! . . .You can do anything!”

    Aleea, He did make it so with Jesus! He did;)
    Aleea, I say this with Love and prayer for your journey ~
    Your inner critic is not above God’s perception and truth, put your inner critic in the correct place and anchor God’s ability to know better, why? Because of who He is. Why? Because of what His promises are!

    I do believe the closer we come to Him and place our trust in His ways, it’s seems to be a harder struggle seeing all those impurities and places of filthy rags we have or dead wood as you might say, why? It isn’t because we are cleaned up and they are not there it is only because the light and glow of His glory is reflecting onto us! It’s His Glory that our eyes are overwhelmed!

    And the beauty is that on this side of Heaven.., He offers us just a glimpse of that treasure that we can embrace and experience for the good of His beloved! Just a glimpse, its precious and undeniable in my opinion 💜

  20. Aly on August 11, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Aleea,

    It isn’t ‘you’ that needs to be the one determining if it’s satisfied. let God be the one setting the standards as He did with giving Jesus💜

  21. JoAnn on August 12, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Dear Sisters, and Aleea in particular….look up the word “partakers” is a concordance and see all the verses that tell us that we, the believers in Christ, are partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). We have no righteousness of our own, but He is our righteousness, simply by virtue of the fact that He has imparted His Spirit into us. Yes, we need to see that we are not worthy, and we need to confess our sins and our sinful nature, but Aleea, don’t let that spill over into condemnation, which is from the devil. If you look for it, all through the New Testament, we are told that Christ is our righteousness, He is our life, our Redeemer, etc. He is everything to us and in us. Do you need patience? Christ is the patient one in you. Do you need to be more loving? The God who is LOVE lives in your spirit. Whatever we need, HE IS. Praise Him!

    • Aly on August 12, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      JoAnn, Aleea;)
      Thank you JoAnn for articulating this so well!
      It’s SO true and sometimes past patterns of condemnation thinking and shame based rooted beliefs play a tug a war with setting Free what He fully is as Holy and Righteous;) nothing that we can do apart from Him. 💖
      Hugs and prayers

  22. Autumn on August 13, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    I hear you.

  23. JoAnn on August 13, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Aleea, it excites me that you see this!!!! Not only are we identified with Christ in His crucifixion, but also in His divinity. He said to Saul, “Why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9) when in fact, Saul was persecuting the believers. Then the Lord said that if we give a cup of cold water to “one of the least of these, My Brothers, you have done it unto Me.” (Matt. 25:40) So, yes, as partakers of His divine nature, and members of His Body, we are in the process of becoming Him. So, when we are harmed in any way, the Lord experiences His identification with us. Good enough reason to guard ourselves from any kind of harm, to the extent that we can. But when we can’t, He is there, experiencing it with us. You wrote: . . . “The more we partake of the divine nature, the more we shall escape the corruption that is in the world. I get that. . . . .I guess it never occurred to me that when I enjoy God, I partake of the riches of His being. . . .but I don’t totally get that because I am constituted with His divine nature, becoming the same as God in life and nature but not in the Godhead!!! That is really weird. . . .JoAnn, some of those usages “sunkoinoneo” ✔ et.al. “to participate in; share of” “koinos” ✔ “common ownership, a partner” basically mean: “I Am Christ”.” …Yes, we become the same as He in life and nature, but not in the Godhead. I believe it was Athanasias in the first century who saw that and wrote it, but it was lost until recently. Wonderful revelation. Now, we are in the process of transformation, to lose more of self and gain more of Him.

    The next part of what you wrote is a little foggy to me, but I can see what you mean in the sense that in our oneness with Christ, we bring Him to others, but no, we are not our own savior, nor are we another’s savior. We can only bring the Savior to others. To do this, we must have the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16) not our own thoughts, but His.

    This is very much in the theological realm, and I really don’t want to get into any debates along these lines. The application of this is related to our identification with Christ: That He Loves us, cares for us, identifies Himself with us in our sufferings, and wants to supply us with everything that He is so that we can live the life that he wants for us. Some of the women on this blog are having a hard time deciding what to do about their destructive relationships. Perhaps realizing their identification with Christ and His identification with them, will help to empower them to obey His leading for their lives. May it be so.

  24. Aleea on August 15, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    “re: “. . . .For me, that gap is me experiencing a fall each time I am confronted with my own humanity. For me, that gap has to do with my inability to accept myself as the imperfect being that I am. For me, it is a pride issue. . . “

    Re: to be healed of that pride of perfectionism

    Excellent, thank you so, so much Nancy for the prayers. I so believe in prayer 🙏. I really believe that God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them.

    I also love 💕❤💕 how you or the Holy Spirit in you or Christ in you, knows how to handle me. It is so beautiful.

    . . . .I have been thinking about pride and perfectionism a lot more. They are the voice of the oppressor, the enemy. Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is probably critical. Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think? Perfectionism is the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis. Perfectionistic pride is so self destructive and an addictive belief system (almost like a religion) that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame. —No way, no one can. There is no perfection, only beautiful versions of total brokenness. Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order. —And probably at its root, perfectionism probably isn’t really about a deep love of being meticulous. It’s probably about fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of failure. . . . or even fear of success. For example, the best times I have had talking to people about having a relationship with Christ are just when I have blerted out something not prepared or “perfect” like: “. . . have you ever wanted to have a whole new life?” —And there is the truth. . . . The doctrine I desire, absolute, perfect doctrine that alone provides wisdom, does not exist. Christ is in us, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught. Again, I learned that from you! You non-toddler re: “. . . .First, I was only born again 4 1/2 years ago and started studying the Bible in earnest 3 1/2 years ago- so, I’m a baby, we’ll, ok…maybe a toddler by now. I know very, very little.” . . . .When you let Christ live through you (act through you), that is as sophisticated and nuanced as it gets! ✽ ❣ ♡ ۵ 😊 💕

  25. Nancy on August 16, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Your notion that perfectionism is other-focused is very helpful 🙂

    This is (perhaps one aspect of?) the fear of man.

    My perfectionism absolutely stems from a deep seated terror of being scape goated ( like you said, “if I look perfect, do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize painful feelings of shame, judgement and blame”). This is very true for me- perfectionism is an addictive belief system that fuels itself.

    Thank God for Jesus!

    Thank you, Aleea

  26. Aleea on August 16, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    . . . . Dr. Meier has told me before that I have powerful issues with shame. Supposedly, if we can share our shame stories with others who respond with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive. But I have done that so, so many times in retreats, at church, et.al. I’m going on this Tres Dias retreat this fall (TRES DIAS endeavors to bring Christians to a closer, more personal walk with the Lord, etc., etc.) and I will share all that shame stuff there too. I share all that Nancy but it doesn’t go away. 😥

    “My perfectionism absolutely stems from a deep seated terror of being scape goated ( like you said, “if I look perfect, do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize painful feelings of shame, judgement and blame”). This is very true for me- perfectionism is an addictive belief system that fuels itself.” . . . .But see that Nancy, we know all the info. but we still can’t just be done with it. I just don’t understand why???

    Shame is a soul eating emotion. Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change. I think the mistake ninety-nine percent of humanity makes, as far as I can see, is being ashamed of what we are; lying about it, trying to be somebody else. Nancy, I say: “Soul, if you want to learn Christ’s secrets, your heart must forget about shame and dignity. You are Christ’s, yet you worry what people are saying. It is so irrational.”

    But, do you remember what JoAnn was talking about??? How that irrational stuff is stuck in our —our lizard brain. Because you and I, we can both (left brain) *ALL* that shame away. We know better, but it’s the heart (right brain, that lizard brain, that amygdala, that reptilian part) that believes. . . . .And our thoughts don’t mirror what we have learned as fact as much as they expose what we have come to believe through experience? Maybe that is why, as JoAnn told us, my attempts to simply wrangle my negative, painful thoughts to the ground and just change those thinking patterns haven’t worked. They are in that lizard (eons old) brain part (hippocampus, the amygdala, and the hypothalamus, etc.) So neuroscientists are saying it is coming from fight—or-flight, —or-freeze instincts, which was the key to the survival of early humans, and one of the oldest emotional responses we have. . . .Now, that lizard brain, that amygdala, that reptilian part . . .when something threatens your life repeatedly in childhood, it is in overdrive, recording every last detail of the experience. The more detailed the memory, the longer those moments seem to last.

    . . .It seems so clear that the lizard brain is the source of the psychological resistance and will fight if it has to, but would rather run away. It likes a vendetta and has no trouble getting angry. The lizard brain cares what everyone else thinks, because status in the tribe is essential to its survival. . . .The lizard brain is the reason we are afraid, the reason we don’t always tell the truth, the reason we don’t leave abusive relationships, the reason we don’t use logic, reason, primary source evidence to really test things, the reason we do law instead of art, the reason we don’t follow our hearts. Again, the lizard brain seems the source of all that psychological resistance. . . . .Okay, so if that is true, how do we get deep, healing love to that lizard brain, that amygdala, that reptilian part?

    I know JoAnn gave us suggestions but none of them worked for me, so far.😥 But I appreciate all her/ your time very much and maybe something will click. I realize that fear, shame or guilt is standing in the way of the life God meant for me to live. I notice that my black bombay kitten gets really afraid of loud noises but I can just rationalize them away (—fireworks, helicopter, etc.) . . .And yet notice, we can’t logic the shame away. 😥 Maybe . . . maybe somehow subconsciously, I am not actually not in agreement with being 100% shame free/ healthy! I am not very good at setting personal boundaries. The shame makes me sick, providing a seemingly legitimate reason to set a boundary and say “No” to demands or requests from others? But if I wasn’t sick, I would have to take responsibility for just saying “No” to demands from others??? Being ill provides the cover I need to set a boundary without the personal discomfort I feel at denying a request??? 😥 Why does everything have to be so hard???❀

  27. Aly on August 16, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Aleea,

    What you wrote makes a lot of sense to me.
    Is Dr. Meir working on Trauma and attachment with trauma for you? These are not simple things but yes Hard!
    I have little to offer here but my heart goes out to you and what you describe, my h went through lots of growing up in counseling and still has to continue to address the attachment issues with trauma and shame. So I feel like I can understand from a place of compassion and some experience as a spouse here.

    I can also understand the patterns assoc with abusive cycles and why they can be hard to break especially when they are formed early on in developmental years through family of origin mainly.

    For me this is what I have come to understand about some complex forms of abuse~ especially by those we are programmed to think ‘love us’ because of cultural norms and values.

    If you grew up in a home where toxis shame and negative thought patterns shaped your lens, then it’s common that you would carry that into adulthood and other relationships.
    Even our own relationship with how God sees us and His opinion of us is impacted at an emotional level early on by our parents or significant people in our lives.

    This is just something to maybe consider but even though those old places of relationships have long been severed or somewhat lessened because of adulthood~ is it possible that a person would ‘still carry’ the mistreatment they lived/experienced and adopt mistreatment of themselves?
    Or thus allow others in their path to treat them with dysfunctional injury?

    It’s important I think to see how our thoughts (especially toxic shame or negative ones about ourselves) can be very ‘automatic and subconscious’ in these places… much of what you referenced above about where these thoughts gets stored.

    So I guess the question could be will we choose to believe what those automatic trauma based thoughts believe about ourselves or will we believe what God says about us and our value?
    💖

  28. Nancy on August 16, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    I love your reference to the ‘reptilian brain’. When we were going through courses on adoption, we learned a lot about the reptilian brain (and that is exactly how the doctors, social workers etc…referred to it).

    With children ‘from hard places’ (abandonment, orphanage situations etc…) their ability to form secure attachment is severely compromised from the get- go. That’s because (even in the case of a child who is adopted ‘early on’) that reptilian brain is so overstimulated in the early days of life ( maybe even in utero).

    The way we attach is our blueprint of love. If we have not experienced secure situations in which our needs are consistently met, then our attachment will be compromised. But here’s the HOPE:

    God IS Love. Jesus is perfectly securely attached to The Father and so…Through Christ we can learn a new way to attach. By abiding in Him, we can EXPERIENCE secure attachment!

    THAT is my hope.

    The question of nature versus nurture? For me it’s Nurture….EVERY. TIME. Why? Because we are ADOPTED into His family (nurture), And that adoption and spiritual re-birth provides the secure environment where our nature can be healed.

    Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing. I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me.

    That includes trusting in The Lord to heal me, in His time, in His way.

    Our good friends from out west told us, on a recent visit, about a helpful mindset:

    They had a terrible year but what they learned was that avoidance only made things worse. “Life sucks sometimes,” they said, “we’re learning to ’embrace the suck'” ( I love this, particularly because he’s a minister).

    So as my h and I journey through these difficult times, it’s sometimes helpful to remind one another to ‘Embrace the suck’ 🙃

    Thanks for ‘listening’ Aleea

  29. Nancy on August 16, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Yes Aly! In your last question to Aleea- the operative word is BELIEVE.

    The Lord is really impressing this word on me, since last October.

    Believing is the ACT of receiving. It is the ONLY work we are to embark upon. It involves submission to The Lord, it involves guarding His seat ( my heart), it involves following Him when it makes NO SENSE at all. It involves behaving differently.

    My h and I were talking this morning about what The Lord is doing in our lives, and asking us to do. He is asking us to break the ‘family rules’. One of which was my h requiring something of his father. Now THAT was S_ _ _ disturbing! You DO NOT require anything of his dad! Well my h did, and we were saddened to learn that his dad refused to rise to the challenge 🙁 Not surprised, but sad. But we were also free!!

    Jesus did not come to make earthly peace. He came to disturb the S_ _ _ that needed disturbing! I hope no one takes offence. I mean this in the most respectful way. I love that, because it’s in stirring things up that we realize that our chains can fall away…in an instant.

    That’s freedom 🙂

  30. Aleea on August 17, 2017 at 6:16 am

    Thank you Aly. . . .Very helpful thoughts.

    “So I guess the question could be will we choose to believe what those automatic trauma based thoughts believe about ourselves or will we believe what God says about us and our value?”

    Thank you for caring so much Aly. I really appreciate that. . . . .If you choose, maybe think of it this way. What if I told you that you were Joan-of-Arc. Could you just start believing that you were Joan-of-Arc? . . .I know what God says about us both the good and the bad. When I wake up and look in the mirror, if there is a pimple on my face, I can’t, no matter how hard I try, say “there is no pimple on my face.” . . . .but, I guess I can put some make-up on it and choose to think thoughts like “Do I really pick-up on pimples when I see others? ―No, there are far more important issues in life.” . . . . It troubles me when people say: “I choose to believe that Islam is true.” As if what is true is just whatever we want to be true. . . .But maybe that is true. . . .I don’t know. I define truth as Reality. Reality isn’t the way you wish things to be, nor the way they appear to be, but the way they actually are. Either you acknowledge reality and use it to your benefit, or it will automatically work against you. Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, it doesn’t go away. I was reading “How Trauma Lodges in the Body”. They say in that research paper: “Unlike other forms of psychological disorders, the core issue in trauma is reality.” ―I think, what does that mean “the core issue in trauma is reality”? Can I simply deicde what is and isn’t reality? Maybe we really can, especially with God. He can do anything He pleases. I’ll have to really think on that more 💗🙏❣😊 💕.

    Hello Nancy,
    “. . . .They had a terrible year but what they learned was that avoidance only made things worse. “Life sucks sometimes,” they said, “we’re learning to ’embrace the suck’” ( I love this, particularly because he’s a minister).”
    Nancy, absolutely true. . . . .Very helpful thoughts. . . .Life is suffering. 😥 Get up, go to the door and open it, invite the “suck” in and give it a hug. ―Absolutely!!! . . . .We cannot be protected from the things that frighten and deeply hurt us, but if we can identify with the part of our being that is responsible for transformation (the Holy Spirit), then we are always the equal, or more than the equal of the things that confront us. Love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering ameliorated.

    “Jesus did not come to make earthly peace. He came to disturb the S_ _ _ that needed disturbing!” . . . ha, ha, ha, ha. That’s so ture. . . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. Matthew 10 “. . . .I have not come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ . . .” . . . .ha, ha, ha, ha . . . . .It’s really true, Jesus created a total, Holy mess but in all the right ways: He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those selling. . . . “And He declared to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” ☛That’s what I want Christ to do in my life and in my heart💗, even though I am really afraid of Him doing it 🙏❣😊 💕.

  31. Aly on August 17, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Aleea,

    I appreciate your process and what you take the time to critically think and weigh.

    You wrote:
    “Thank you for caring so much Aly. I really appreciate that. . . . .If you choose, maybe think of it this way. What if I told you that you were Joan-of-Arc. Could you just start believing that you were Joan-of-Arc? . . .I know what God says about us both the good and the bad.”

    Here’s where we are different in this analogy.
    (I challenged you to believe what ‘God says’ about you, rather than the ingrained patterns of thinking false shame beliefs that were imprinted a long time ago. I challenged you to consider to stop carrying those thoughts and allow the other thoughts to set in about who you truly are)
    I challenged you to believe what God says about you,
    What God declares about your heir ship..Not what ‘I say’ about you.
    You wrote above …”what if I told you, you were Joan of Arc,?
    The critical part is ‘its Aleea’ telling me. Is God telling me or defining me as Joan of Arc no, God defines me as his own, and His child alone. Can you as a person within God’s kingdom second that truth, of course you can.

    So you wrote above that you know what God says about us good and bad, then you agree with him? You agree that you are a child of God?
    You agree that you are a growing and learning person that is capable of bad and good choices? Sanctification is life long until eternal heaven Aleea but it’s the posture we decide to hold that we can say we are ‘saints’ in His eyes because of what Christ did on the cross, not our works but His alone.
    It is in our reverence of Him that we hold that growing and learning posture.

    Am I still a child of God with both good and bad choices and traits in this lifetime ~ yes of course! But this is not my final dwelling. His work on the cross does not give me permission to sin or freedom to abuse the salvation I have received. I am called to received and I am called to share the ‘Good News’ as a believer and someone wanting to grow deeper and more mature with Christ.

    I choose to believe even in my sinful nature that Christ declared me His own, not for myself but for His Own purposes and Glory.

  32. Aleea on August 17, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Hello Aly,

    “. . . .The critical part is ‘its Aleea’ telling me. Is God telling me or defining me as Joan of Arc no, God defines me as his own, and His child alone. Can you as a person within God’s kingdom second that truth, of course you can.”

    . . . .okay, *very* good point on logic and I agree with you on that. I was sloppy in my analogy and you are right!

    . . .But, let me ask humbly, before I make even more mistakes, are you just bracketing off the last 275 years of textual research [textual variants/ interpolations/ redactions/ textual alterations/ textual additions/ textual contradictions/ unverified authors/ subjectively canonized books, et. al.] Are you assuming zero issues with the passages you use to justify God’s view of me? In the consensus apparatus (―all the extant valuable early manuscripts collated) of the Bible’s texts, variant letter-ratings are used:

    • The letter A indicates that the text is certain.
    • The letter B indicates that the text is almost certain.
    • The letter C indicates that scholars have difficulty in deciding which equally valuable textual variant to place in the text.
    • The letter D indicates that scholars have great difficulty in arriving at any decision. They just DON’T know.

    • A-Ratings: 8.7% 💕 ❣♡ ۵ 😊 💕
    • B-Ratings: 32.3% 😊
    • C-Ratings: 48.6 % 😥
    • D-Ratings: 10.4% 😥

    “So you wrote above that you know what God says about us good and bad, then you agree with him? You agree that you are a child of God?” . . . . YES, I do! . . . .But I also agree with Him, in Luke 17, and so many others. “. . . .So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, We are totally unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” “Totally unworthy servants” sounds like shame to me.

    “. . . .I am called to share the ‘Good News’ as a believer and someone wanting to grow deeper and more mature with Christ. + I choose to believe even in my sinful nature that Christ declared me His own, not for myself but for His Own purposes and Glory.” . . . .And that is just so beautiful. I agree with that Aly! Why does that grab me like that, its like a magnet. When someone else [―who is not me] says it, somehow, I can believe it. But I can’t believe for long when I say it to myself. The days go by ✈ and I start thinking, reasoning, researching and then I wonder all over again. I mean, I don’t hear God’s voice telling me things like you tell me these things.⌘⌨

  33. JoAnn on August 17, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Aleea, i have been wanting to say something here for a while…It seems to me that all the research that you do regarding the various interpretations of the Bible and the differing opinions about interpretations and validity are not really serving you well. It is causing you confusion and to doubt the Word of God. Personally, I believe that because the Word of God is living and operative, and sharper than any two edged sword….(Heb. 4:12), that no matter which interpretation you might pick up, the Lord can ignite it in your being and use it to speak to you, context or not. That’s rhema, the instant Word. This is how I come to the Bible, and it refreshes and enlivens me every time. The God who could speak through a donkey is well able to use any interpretation to speak to us (providing, of course, that we are not twisting it, which is why when I come to the Word, I pray first for God’s speaking, not the enemy’s). I use various versions of the Bible for my study, and I can honestly say that in the matters of the faith and the speaking that is most important, the differences are minor. I love the Bible and for me, it is my daily bread.

  34. Aleea on August 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you JoAnn***, I very much appreciate you caring enough to tell me that (―thank you) and I agree with you at some levels and not others. . . . .I am so biased for the Word-of-God, I have to do something to try to balance myself. Otherwise, all I have is confirmation bias, not any real search for the Truth. I love the Word-of-God and so want it to be true, that means I have to examine it all the more. The easiest person to fool is yourself. . . . .It could be that you can judge a woman’s spirit by the amount of truth she can tolerate***. . . .I think you can tell when you are learning and being educated on the Bible because you are just horrified***. I know I am. So if it is pleasant and safe, you most likely are not learning. People learn things the hard way***. None of these issues ever really get dealt with in church; they get swept under the rug because people already know what happens when you really start digging ―chaos. Their afraid, but I’m afraid too. I don’t know what to say JoAnn. I know I can turn a blind eye to the last 275 years of structural and factual issues in: the manuscript evidence, archeology, textual contradictions, textual variants, interpolations, redactions, textual alterations, unverified authors, subjectively canonized books —issues with cosmology, evolutionary biology, mythology in the texts. . . . .I appreciate you and everyone here so much. I very much value the time you and they give me. I pray all the time but don’t think there are any answers unless I just act in ways that are basically willfully blind. Some days I really, deeply care if what I believe is really true not that it is just useful. Other days I don’t want to hear it either, I just want my storybook Jesus, so I guard my heart. . . . .Are the thousands of serious researchers who believe differently than we do all wrong? What’s the probability that everyone else has it wrong but we are right? . . . I always try to be fair and balanced. I’ll read “How Jesus Became God” 😥 and “How God Became Jesus”❣😊 💕 at the same time chapter for chapter. . . . .This book “Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense” really built up my faith.❣😊 💕 This one almost destroyed it: “Why I am not a Christian”. This is the same problem we talk about with husbands/wives and not facing the truth about them. . . . . I don’t know what to say JoAnn but I appreciate you and that you care. I still want and need Jesus (—badly) even if He is not really true, I do “know” that much about myself. But I don’t want to pretend to know things I really do not know. I don’t *know* that Jesus rose from the dead. I hope and pray He did and I act as if He did in my actions but I don’t know that. Maybe Christianity isn’t directly true, but it is still truer than true??? I have faith but faith can prove anything, just anything is true by faith, therefore faith can prove nothing. Without just being willfully blind, what do you think would “serve me better” (re: your “not really serving you (me) well”). What do you think? I’m open to any suggestions.

    (***It is not so much translations are different but that whole books have unknown authors, contain historical, factual, archaeological, etc. errors: . . . .re: “Inerrant the Wind: The Evangelical Crisis in Biblical Authority” That is an entire Ph.D. dissertation on the factual errors. Easy to read and everyone of those issues can’t just be fluff, far too many of them. Also, “Everybody Is Wrong About God, Including Us” by Dr. James A. Lindsay and Dr. Peter Boghossian.

  35. JoAnn on August 17, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Aleea, it is hard for me to respond to what you present here. My faith is not shaken by those theologians and their controversial studies, because the Lord is so real to me, and personal. Let me tell you a basic principle: in the story of the garden of Eden, which is more metaphor than fact, there were two trees….the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Note that good and evil are on the same tree with knowledge. God’s intention was for us to partake of Himself as our life supply, as typified by the Tree of Life. He does not want us to be eating from the tree of knowledge, but “Eve” ate of it anyway and talked “Adam” into eating of it too. That’s what got us into trouble. So the kind of knowledge that you are getting into is not nurturing your spirit with life. By eating Him through His word (John 6:35, 48, 63), we are in the process of becoming the same as He is in life and nature, but not in the Godhead. I see/experience the Word of God as my daily bread, as the Lord intended it to be. Just being personal here, and it is my testimony.

  36. Aleea on August 18, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you JoAnn

    “. . . . the Lord is so real to me, and personal.” That is so beautiful. I feel that way too and have felt that way so, so many times. Jesus is the best in-love experience I have ever had. . . .but,

    “. . . .in the story of the garden of Eden, which is more metaphor than fact. . . .” JoAnn, if I was in court and heard that, I would ask the judge for summary judgment against the plaintiff. That basically deconstructs Christianity right at the ground level. Those things were taught as *fact* by Christians all through the centuries on end and the apostle Paul thought it was fact. The Adam and Eve story is not just about a fall from paradise: It goes to the heart of Christianity. Note that the Apostle Paul (in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15) argued that the whole point of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection was to undo Adam’s original sin. Without Adam, the work of Christ makes no sense whatsoever in Paul’s description of the Gospel, which is the classic description of the Gospel we have in the New Testament. . . .If that is more metaphor than fact, could the resurrection be more metaphor than fact too? 😥 😥 😥

    “. . . .He does not want us to be eating from the tree of knowledge, but “Eve” ate of it anyway and talked “Adam” into eating of it too. That’s what got us into trouble.” I love you JoAnn and I pray for you, as I hope you do me, but I don’t agree with that. Those scholars are the only reason we know much of anything about that time period. That just doesn’t sound right, that God doesn’t want us acquiring knowledge? That seems really dangerous. . . . .but, I’ll have to think w-a-y more about that. Maybe that is true in some way I can’t understand yet but it sounds deeply wrong to me. It sounds like the song we we sing at our church sometimes:

    Reason is the enemy of faith, my friend
    A head that’s filled with knowledge
    soon is too bloated with its own weight
    to fit through heaven’s gate
    So think with your heart. . . .

    Think with your heart?✘ That’s how a lot of these precious abused souls that come here wound-up where they are, at least it sure looks that way to me.

    “So the kind of knowledge that you are getting into is not nurturing your spirit with life.” . . . .That could be true. It feels so much better just to talk about faith building, faith confirming things. I just love to pray and talk to God. . . .On feelings, it has always felt better for me but those are just my feelings and I am *really* emotional.

    “By eating Him through His word (John 6:35, 48, 63), we are in the process of becoming the same as He is in life and nature, but not in the Godhead. I see/experience the Word of God as my daily bread, as the Lord intended it to be. Just being personal here, and it is my testimony.” . . . .That is beautiful.☑ I know the N.T. like the back of my hand and it just, He just, feels so right and warm and true. I agree with what you are saying.✔

    Thank you for sharing some of your life with me JoAnn, that is just beautiful. Again, Jesus is the best in-love experience I have ever had. —It is also true that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It seems to me that love doesn’t want people to stay ignorant. Love doesn’t value obedience over all else. . . . .Sometimes I think, something else, somehow, something else is going on at the intersection of psychology, theology, neuroscience but I don’t know what it is. I just know how I feel. “Faith” seems the word one uses when one does not have enough evidence to justify holding a belief in any normative sense, but when one just goes ahead and believes anyway because of the way it makes them feel: i.e. helps them have hope. ―And hope is r-e-a-l-l-y important. ―I love that feeling, being in love with Jesus. It is the best in love experience EVER! ― For me, the search for truth takes me where the evidence leads me, even if, at first, I didn’t want to go there. . . . .Again, JoAnn, thank you so very much for sharing some of your life with me, that is just so special and beautiful.❣😊 💕 ―I get it. ―I just don’t *fully* get it. 🌷 🌷 🌷 🌷 🌷

  37. Nancy on August 18, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    JoAnn!

    Thank you so much for making so simple the illustration of the two trees. One approach brings confusion, the other clarity! This thoroughly explains why and how we can get so easily muddied in our thinking.

    I also approach The Word as ‘Rhema’ ( I’ve never heard this term before) and my favourite verse that describes the Bible is Hebrews 4:11 ( The Word of God is sharper than a two edged sword…). It is because of this verse that I feel that I can – after only 5 years of being a Christian- lead Bible Studies. We look at the passages together and discuss how The Lord is speaking to each of us through it. I’m not a teacher, we journey together.

    Aleea,
    It’s not that God requires ‘blind faith’ at all. The question is will we acquire knowledge under the authority of God’s guidance and direction ( which comes with regular consumption of His Word). Or will we come out from underneath that authority to draw our own conclusions (or rely on the conclusions of others).

    Example: my h and I are completely re-doing our finances. He has decided to go to The Word in order to find out what Jesus has to say about money ( A LOT!). Once he has completed that step, he will get a book by a recommended Christian financial dude. This foundational knowledge ( of the Word) will provide him the correct perspective to know if he comes across advice that is not Biblical. Then he can flush the parts that don’t align and take the parts that do. Now that’s acquiring knowledge under the authority of God 🙂

    • JoAnn on August 18, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      Nancy, Thank you for your reply. There are two words in the Bible that are translated “word,” Logos and rhema. Logos is the permanent word, as in the written scriptures. Rhema is the instant, present word. Logos becomes rhema when it is activated in our spirit and becomes “spirit and life” to us. The Lord said, in John 5:39: “You search the Scriptures (logos), because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that testify concerning Me. Yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” So, when we come to the word prayerfully, realizing that it is God’s breath (same word as spirit), the printed word becomes rhema to us and nourishes us and gives us life. So really, the Lord was referring to the two trees here…the tree of knowledge that the pharisees were eating from and Himself as the Tree of Life. In Eph 6:17& 18, Paul admonishes us to take in the word “by means of all prayer…” which is why I approach the word with a prayerful attitude expecting the Lord to quicken His word and become life to me in it. You often refer to “leaning into Christ” and for me, being in the word this way is a way to lean into Christ.

    • JoAnn on August 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Re: financial planning. Very wise move, not taking a “your way versus my way” approach, but seeking wisdom from the Word and other wise counselors. I like Larry Burkett (now passed on) and Dave Ramsey, and I often recommend them to others.

  38. Nancy on August 18, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    I want to add, very delicately, that the sin of eating from that tree, is pride.

    When we don’t submit the information we receive, to God, that’s pride.

    That’s why I need this on my fridge:
    Go forward confidently without letting yourself be touched by the grief of a sensitive pride which cannot bear to see itself imperfect.

  39. Aleea on August 19, 2017 at 6:32 am

    . . . .I honor your bubbling up thoughts but what marks them as Jesus or the Holy Spirit or just God? How do I recognize spontaneous flows that you assume are the voice of God within you? . . . .That naba, the Hebrew wordfor that literal ‘‘bubble up.” Naba —God’s voice is just somehow “bubbling up” inside you?***

    . . . .I went through all 68☑ [that I see] uses of rhema in the New Testament [and bracketing off all the text and context issues] I observe that not once did rhema refer to the written word. . . . .So, rhema is just totally free-style, going through all our own personal filters and biases, free-range “What God told me” or “What God told me to tell you”. . . . .Would not self-serving biases allow us to rationalize anything? . . .But let’s just assume it’s all true, somehow. . . .

    How do I discern God’s voice within my heart from my own sinful voice***?

    ***It seems to me, that this dangerous “☣ Presence Metaphysics ☠ (I received a thought from Jesus or the Holy Spirit or just God) is the most slippery of all slopes. If thoughts from my mind are analytical and thoughts from my heart are spontaneous, God’s voice is sensed as spontaneous thoughts that just light upon my mind?

    ✴ And yet, it is so, so crazy I want it: Lord, you know I am thirsty for Your voice (not my voice). I fix my heart upon You. I turn away from my own reasoning (Lord God help me to not fall off a cliff), let me hear Your voice in my flowing thoughts so that I can drink in Your (new?) words. . . . And Lord keep me from writing my own gospel because I am afraid that is what will happen if I just let myself go into this presence metaphysics.

    ✖. . . It seems to me, but I am really biased that this (above) is what we should be talking about here. . . . .not focusing on husbands doing whatever godless thing they are doing wrong this week. —Husband, I am going to Zion (the city of God) with or without you. I invite you to come and join me. —Come and join me in the Sunlight! But if you refuse —or say you will but then isolate, if you become emotional distant, abusive, have no interest in really following the Lord, want to be a carnal “Christian” (whatever that even is), I will go to Zion without you. I will still love you, forgive you and pray for you but at some point, well. . . . . Marriage is not: I will take care of your heart and you take care of mine. We never lose responsibility for our own hearts! Only Jesus gets your heart and you are responsible to parent yourself —and parent yourself well— applying God’s love to all those broken parts of yourself that need to healed. Lord help us all, especially me.⌘ ⌛ ✈ ⌚❣

  40. Nancy on August 19, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Aleea,

    It’s about how we approach The Word. God can use The Word to transform our mind, if we approach it with Him, in submission.

    If there is a verse that is mysterious to you. If it keeps popping up -maybe one just came to mind. Start there. Meditate on it. Sit with it. Allow it to be mysterious to you. Don’t look it up. Just let it be between He and you. Don’t share it with anyone.

    This is eating from the tree of life.

    Ask Him to help you resist the temptation to figure it out. Ask Him to enable you to be comforted by His mystery.

  41. Aly on August 19, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Aleea,

    You wrote;
    “It seems to me, but I am really biased that this (above) is what we should be talking about here. . . . .not focusing on husbands doing whatever godless thing they are doing wrong this week. —Husband, I am going to Zion (the city of God) with or without you.”

    I’m sorry but I disagree because many women that are in destructive marriages (whether they are aware or unaware) need plenty of information and knowledge to see and be ‘educated with care’ that what they are going through or tolerating is not a picture of a Godly marriage.
    Usually these marriages have many children in their care and the things are not simple, they can be complex.

    I have experienced women decide to look upon the Lord and have their focus their while being in a very unhealthy and toxic marriage, they have a split off basically and they get further and further from their own reality and their children watch this type of modeling.

    Yes, we are to look upon the Lord and feast on His Word but He calls us to be walking in transformation and walking in becoming wholeheartedly for him~ not duplicit.

    Many women have been so traumatized and desensitized by their destructive spouses that they need a safe place to understand what they have probably known is wrong all along but they need the validation and the support to continue to look into the ‘cave’ as you might relate as an analogy Aleea.

    There are some women who have been trying for so long to think and act the best for their families and they have los places of strength that they can regain in order to ‘act’ the best for their children and husbands.
    Living in a dysfunctional marriage or any relationship will beat you down and mess with your mind about who and WHO’s you are.

    Some women are living with such toxic arrogant immature men that they can even start thinking it is normal for any man to behave this way. How then can they get the awareness and courage they need to actually ~ invite them to Zion?

    Yes, it’s a process… but let’s not discourage women or cause any unnecessary guilt for sharing husband’s behaviors as they are drawing and courageously seeking truth about their circumstances.

    Love you Aleea as a sister in Christ and all the amazing wise women here, my heart is heavy for those in deep places and my prayer is for freedom and love for us all💖

    • JoAnn on August 19, 2017 at 6:07 pm

      Thank you, Aly, I agree with what you have said here. We encourage and empathize with one another and share our hope and experiences. So many have been encouraged to pursue the Lord this way. Yes, the call is to “come to Zion,” but to climb that hill, we need to be able to unload our burdens first.

  42. Aleea on August 20, 2017 at 5:56 am

    Aly,

    “. . . .I’m sorry but I disagree because many women that are in destructive marriages (whether they are aware or unaware) need plenty of information and knowledge to see and be ‘educated with care’ that what they are going through or tolerating is not a picture of a Godly marriage. Usually these marriages have many children in their care and the things are not simple, they can be complex.” . . . .Aly, don’t be sorry. Say what you think! The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are in Christ. How can I be correct if no one corrects me?

    . . . .Could it be that we start with first things, first? We will have a lot less time to have kids with abusive people if we are really, truly, sincerely, *seriously*, deeply, really trying to find Jesus. I believe anyone will have their hands just full trying *honestly* to find Jesus, without pretending to know things they do not really know. Most people (😥 maybe me too 😥) have a Jesus they or their church made up. . . . .But, we see the world not as it is but the way we are, so maybe it is my issue projected onto the situation. . . .So, I don’t know. . . .I know many people, maybe me too, need to really meet Jesus again for the first time and really read the bible again for the first time. People do not do this because they think they already have the truth in their back pocket.

    In my experience, Tillich was right in that fundamentalism destroys the humble honesty of the search for truth. How can there be any sincere search for Jesus —for example, when the outcome is dictated *in advance* by one’s faith? How can there be real open-minded search when you know already your faith will be borne out? It comes down to a circular argument: If you believe it, you will see it –or– believe and you will see. It is a dangerous game because it can get you to submit to abuse, especially spiritual abuse. When pastors refer to biblical womanhood, the biblical approach to home-economics or the biblical response to politics, they are using the Bible as a disguised weapon of control. . . . .

    Nancy,

    “. . . .If there is a verse that is mysterious to you. If it keeps popping up -maybe one just came to mind. Start there. Meditate on it. Sit with it. Allow it to be mysterious to you. Don’t look it up. Just let it be between He and you. Don’t share it with anyone. . . . .This is eating from the tree of life. . . . .Ask Him to help you resist the temptation to figure it out. Ask Him to enable you to be comforted by His mystery.”

    . . . .Well, I sharing it anyway. “If it keeps popping up -maybe one just came to mind.” When I read that, the first thing in my mind was the parable of the unjust steward, Luke sixteen. I am talking about Papyrus 45, it is the earliest AD 325 and best New Testament manuscript where we have Luke 6-7 and 9-14. That manuscript is at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Ireland. . . . .And no one gets behind that manuscript (—that is where the trail ends) because we don’t have earlier anything. . . . . Lots of text deconstruction and unbelievable levels of hermeneutical foot work (—scholarly lying) have to be used to get the Word of God to *NOT* say what it really, clearly said and meant in historical and cultural context. I just cannot believe that Jesus would say that. It is so *not* Jesus. But there it is, sitting (—as maybe a vestige of early scribal editorial fatigue???) Maybe it is actually a truer glimpse into Jesus than anything else.

    Anyways, what you say is just so, so interesting . . . .I have secret things between just me and Jesus (—hopefully not a Jesus I made up). It is pure mystery (—or just a pocket of my own ignorance). “Ask Him to help you resist the temptation to figure it out.” . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .that is just so NOT me that I’m try it. —I will. Maybe we figure it out by not trying to figure it out, as bad as that sounds, because it sounds just nutty ❣😊 💕. But the thing that sounds true in it is that it is humbling.

    JoAnn, thank you so much too and you too Aly and Nancy ❣😊 💕. There is nothing as therapeutic as sensitive, empathic, concentrated listening. . . .But something, again, really hit me last week as I walked out of therapy: If I heal, I will not get to come here anymore and have Dr. Meier deeply, carefully, thoughtfully listen to all my crazy ideas and unending words and pray with me (re:Thank God, somebody hears. Someone knows what it’s like to be me!). . . I will not know her anymore and she will not be in my life. . . .Maybe that is what is keeping me from healing? . . .I have no idea but I know the center of responsibility lies within me. . . .It is amazing how change threatens and it creates a really frightened me. If we are really willing to enter other’s worlds and really see the way life appears to them, *without any attempt to make evaluative judgments*, we run the risk of being deeply changed ourselves. . . . ⌘

  43. Aleea on August 20, 2017 at 6:19 am

    To Whomever is “In Charge” of the Blog Post (Site) Software,
    . . .I want to say a very special and heartfelt thank you to whomever(s) has fixed the site software and the posting functions on the blog. —WOW, they are working g-r-e-a-t!!! ☑ In the past, I have had such a hard time posting things 😥 and I use all kinds of different equipment and networks so. . . . . —So, anyways, in the past weeks (I’ve lost track of how many), everything works even down to the emoticons❣♡ 😊 💕 . . . .It sure is a thing of beauty when the site software works this well. I have deeply appreciated that and to me, it is the equivalent of sensitive, empathic, concentrated listening. ☑ —Thank you!!! 💗 ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ 💗 💖💜 💟. . .✈ ღ ツ☼♡

  44. Nancy on August 20, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Oh Aleea! You make me giggle ❤️. I hope you know that I’m not laughing at you!

    When I say, ‘what verse comes to mind’, I don’t mean, ‘what-verse-along-with-all-the- historical-information- you-have-ever-read, comes to mind’

    Aleea. JUST the tree of life. Not the tree of life ALONG WITH the tree of knowledge. JUST the tree of life.

    Maybe a better way to say it is ‘what verse has The Lord placed in your HEART that keeps coming back to you?’ (pure, un-adulterated scripture, Aleea. Not including that tree of knowledge stuff!)

    What verse makes you pause? What verse makes you NOT want to dive into research? What verse makes you want to just soak in the presence of Jesus? What verse makes you take a DEEP BREATH?

    Anyways, my friend. Blessings for your heart ❤️

    • JoAnn on August 20, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Oh, Nancy! You nailed it! Thanks for your wise response. My head goes into a spin with the “hermeneutics” sometimes. “Just the Tree of Life.” Yes and amen!! When a nice meal is placed in front of us at a great restaurant, we don’t sit there and analyze the nutritional content of the food (or at least, I don’t), we just dig in and enjoy each bite. We need to treat the Word of God that way: our daily bread.

  45. Aly on August 20, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Aleea,

    Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts here. I believe you when you say:
    “If I heal, I will not get to come here anymore and have Dr. Meier deeply, carefully, thoughtfully listen to all my crazy ideas and unending words and pray with me (re:Thank God, somebody hears. Someone knows what it’s like to be me!). . . I will not know her anymore and she will not be in my life. . . .Maybe that is what is keeping me from healing?”

    Many people continue to see their therapist well after healing has begun and see the benefit on an ongoing time where they can continue sharing and asking ? about their life journey.

    I have been though some painful places but the last thing I (And especially my husband) plan to do is not stop seeing a critical vessel in our lives because we are not where we were at some other point in time. Therapy could be life long for us;) especially as we continue to learn and grow.
    One of my greatest joys is sharing something delightful with our therapist! Even a funny ~ where we can laugh together.

    But your thoughts above Aleea remind of something that Jesus said to the man sitting outside the pools, ‘do you want to get well?” I’m paraphrasing here but it was a profound question to a person that was unable to carry his mat and get up, but Jesus challenged the core issue was if the man even wanted to be healed.

    Sometimes we can get so used to being sick, or stuck or having little desire to learn or grow that we attach to that because is ‘known’, but that isn’t what God keeps for us, especially as we decide to follow Him.

    So many people allow our culture to determine the lines and are stuck in little desires to grow and learn and YES critically think.. that they prefer to be where they feel they know, even if it’s unhealthy and not freeing~ they have attached to a false safe place because staying their somehow has become familiar.

    But as we pursue the Lords heart we get to discover so many treasures and we get to be changed overtime by His promises and His ways. We get to attach to the following process which is the learning and growing process. Their is not an AgE limit. Many people think that once they reach an age that the sanctification process halts! Wrong and sometimes these are the most dangerous people to be around because they truly have little desire to grow and be taught new and healing things.

    I am thankful Aleea that you are being honest about your relationship with your therapist and what that process of having someone understand and care for you, and pray with you! God has orchestrated this person as a pivotal vessel to aid in shining a part of ‘who HE is’ so that you ‘might begin’ a trusting process of discovery. He uses people in the ‘good way’ Aleea to bring forth His kingdom and His purpose.
    If you don’t want to believe in God’s Word because of what you feel you have educated yourself, and what you have chosen on the basis of who is credible…. that is your choice to make but you can’t deny the experience and the care that you have received in therapy and it being an example of a God loving and giving vessel.

    Dr. Meier has some great loving qualities and expertise~ correct?
    Those did not just appear, nor are they insignificant but they are a reflection of Him and He is all good.

  46. Nancy on August 20, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Thanks JoAnn. I love the Tree of Life and Tree of knowledge example.

    Dr. cloud said it this way, “Insight does not produce cure. Cure produces insight”

    So…” Insight (tree of knowledge) does not produce cure (Life). Cure ( tree of life) produces insight (knowledge).”

  47. Aleea on August 21, 2017 at 6:01 am

    Thank you so much Aly. I so appreciate your thoughts and your time. . . .

    “. . . . .So many people allow our culture to determine the lines and are stuck in little desires to grow and learn and YES critically think.. that they prefer to be where they feel they know, even if it’s unhealthy and not freeing~ they have attached to a false safe place because staying their somehow has become familiar.” . . . .Could it be that it is not that it is a “false place” (because it is as real as it gets) as much as it is not a balanced place? The problem may be that it is too much real, too much of the time? Again, it is not so much a “false place” as not a balanced place. The cave I fear to enter is deep love, just pure emotion, just *total* feelings. The cave so many others are terrified of entering is logic, reason, evidence based beliefs and taking critical thinking seriously. They know why they don’t want to enter that cave even if it is at a subconscious level, as I know why I don’t want to enter the other, they *will* be changed.

    —Oh, you know what Aly? . . . .Dr. Meier always wants me to read fairytales. . . . .And I do but it is not easy for me. . . . .She had me read “The Light Princess” by George MacDonald (George MacDonald is an earlier version of C.S.Lewis). . . . .and “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. —But, 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. Even things in the Bible that are not historically true can be MORE true than true. . . .And I read all those fairytales. . . .but I don’t want to be a Princess, I want God. I want to be a Truth-Seeker. I want God Himself, not made-up ideas of God. Open hearts are willing to *deeply* love and open minds are willing to *deeply* question. . . . We can not let tradition become 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 conclude: “What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.” . . . . But, Aly, 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, Aly 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’s help. I know far too little.

    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. 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).

    . . . .We cannot change, we cannot move away from what we are, until we *thoroughly* accept what we are. Then change seems to come about almost unnoticed. I think the kind of caring that a Christ-centered therapist desires to achieve is a gullible caring, in which clients are accepted as they say they are, not with a lurking suspicion in the therapist’s mind that they may, in fact, be otherwise. This attitude is not stupidity on the therapist’s part; it is the kind of attitude that is most likely to lead to trust, which changes everything. . . . If we *really* deeply allow ourselves to understand another person, we will be changed by that understanding. And we *all* deeply fear change because change is rough. So as I say, it is not an easy thing to permit oneself to *deeply* understand another person because it will *deeply* change you. . . . It’s the reason husbands will not allow themselves to deeply understand their wives and why wives will not allow themselves to deeply understand their husbands. It’s the reason people will not allow themselves to *deeply* understand things that do not confirm their biases.

  48. Aleea on August 21, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Hello Nancy,

    “. . . .Oh Aleea! You make me giggle. I hope you know that I’m not laughing at you!” . . . .even if you are laughing at me, I want you to. —I know your heart is good and that you want to help me. . . . and I love to laugh, especially at myself. You know Nancy, I think people are their most beautiful when they are laughing, playing, *really* and *seriously* telling the deepest, *most* honest truths (—I love that!) . . . —Oh, and being chased in a fun way! . . . I don’t know what to say because Jesus simply did not go around laughing at stuff, that we know of. . . . .To me, laughter is a tangible evidence of hope. My sister’s kids go around laughing at everything —Ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .What are they always laughing about? I have no idea, probably me (Good!) . . . ha, ha, ha. . . .When people laugh together, they tend to talk and touch more and to make eye contact more frequently. It is so easy to observe. —Think about what happens when we really, really laugh. Our defenses are down. It is a very Holy-Spirit-like moment. We are completely open, completely ourselves when that message hits the brain and the laugh begins. That’s when new ideas can be implanted!!! If a new idea slips in at that moment, it has a chance to grow.

    “. . . . a better way to say it is ‘what verse has The Lord placed in your HEART that keeps coming back to you?’ (pure, un-adulterated scripture, Aleea. Not including that tree of knowledge stuff!)” . . . . .Okay. . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .so now that I understand, that is easy, Revelation 1:18 “. . . .I am He that lived, and was dead; but, behold, I am alive forever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” . . . . He’s alive. . . .That makes me pause and NOT want to dive into research. . . . .

  49. JoAnn on August 21, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Aleea, I hear you expressing concern of the validity and historic accuracy of the scriptures, and I need to say something here. My husband is a professor in a highly respected university. He has spent decades studying the scriptures and the Bible, and over the years has come to respect both as valid and NOT mutually exclusive. In fact, he has spoken in many universities, by invitation, on the subject of “Science and the Bible,” because so many people think that you can’t be a Christian and be a scientist, too. A very important point that he makes is that the Bible is NOT a science textbook, nor is it meant to be a history book. The Bible conveys to us God’s purpose in creating the universe, which is for the earth, and the earth is for man, and man is in God’s image to express Him. Even the “creation story” in Genesis is not meant to be a scientific account of how God created the earth….no, the geological record tells us plainly that the earth took longer than six days to create. What we have is a record of God’s purpose. Science tells us the HOW of creation, and the Bible tells us the WHY of creation. If you see this, then it doesn’t bother you that the Bible doesn’t match the historic record. It isn’t meant to. The Bible is meant to show us who our God is and what He wants, and how He is now fulfilling His eternal plan to have a group of people to be filled with His divine life to express Him and represent Him on earth to defeat His enemy (the Body of Christ). All of us are fighting daily battles to defeat God’s enemy, and the way we do it is by being filled with His victorious, divine life. The way we get filled with His life is by eating the word, and exercising our will to choose to be one with Him through prayer.
    Aleea, as I said previously, the studies that you are engaged in are not serving you well because they fill your mind with more questions than answers. How can you believe the truth if so much of what you read puts the scriptures into question? Theologians, the writers of those books, sorry, are not the great men of faith who have done so much to reveal truths to us and are examples of lives lived for God. They are eating from the tree of knowledge, and what they write does not feed the Lord’s sheep; that stuff kills faith. I encourage you, and all the others here, to spend time in the Word of God, daily, to simply feed your soul, enjoy what you read, let the Lord turn the logos into rhema, and strengthen you into your spirit, the place in your being where God dwells. Find a good version, American Standard, Amplified, New International, and just sit with it and read, praying first for the Lord to open your eyes to what He has for you in it. Pray over one or two verses, and just let it nourish you. Don’t analyze, just enjoy. Let Him touch you. Let Him enlighten you. He is there, in His word. You can get a free study Bible that has wonderful footnotes and cross references and is a very careful and accurate translation of the New Testament from Bibles for America (bfa.org). My husband and I have been using and enjoying this version for more than 40 years, and it has really blessed us.

  50. Nancy on August 21, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    JoAnn,

    I wish I were in a Bible Study with you and your husband!

    My first degree is in environmental biology – I was educated as a Darwinist. My second degree is in Psychology – much of which deals with humans as animals (operant conditioning, for example) which completely ignores the transformative power of grace.

    Since then I’ve come to Christ. God is so good at bringing all of this, once rogue knowledge, under His authority. What I don’t understand, He is gracious to provide comfort to me, in His mystery. I am so grateful!

    I love science and I love the Bible. And as my daughter struggles with this exact issue about the creation story, that’s what I’ve told her, time and again:

    The Bible does not explain how.

    She used to be very annoyed that dinosaurs were not mentioned! There are many gaps because that’s not the point.

    Science is the tool that allows us to find out how it all works. From His incredible creation, to the innermost workings of our minds.

    That’s what science is for… to learn more about God 🙂

  51. Aleea on August 22, 2017 at 5:46 am

    So help me Jesus, so help me Lord God to not totally offend JoAnn or anyone else (—ever) because if you don’t help me write these words, in love, I most certainly will. . . . .please help me!!! —And Lord God, I *deeply* love you and Jesus and will never, ever get over You but I see issues. . . .deep, structural issues. I really, deeply care if what I believe is really ture. Not that it is just helpful because oh my *is it ever* helpful. It is the way I get through each day. . . . .JoAnn, I can’t get across the street without Jesus helping me.

    JoAnn, thank you so much for taking the time to write that. I don’t know how to write this so that just love comes through and forgive me for what will be a weak effort, but remember, everybody has credentials. They are not evidence of anything. We have more degrees than a thermometer in my house. In just my Ph.D. program, I took many courses in research methodologies. I realized there, as my professors said, that no experts exist. There is only evidence and when you have evidence you bring it, you don’t refer to how educated someone is. That is *not* evidence of anything. What matters is the hypothesis and the *evidence* . . . .not benchmarks of questionable relevance (—all my degrees and Bible study for example). Anyone here can bring *evidence* that trumps what I am saying, degrees or not. What matters is the evindence and extraordinary claims require e-x-t-r-a-ordinary evidence. . . .The challenge is the evidence. . . . . Let’s say you tell me: “Aleea, I own a car.” —no problem, JoAnn lots of people own cars. . . I need a minimum of proof. . . . .But if you say “Aleea, 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. . . . .But now, lets say you tell me: “Aleea, I own an interstellar spacecraft that can fly to other star systems!” —Now, you have kicked the claim into the unknown. I need WAY more evidence because I am not even sure that is possible. . . .And yet, somebody raising from the dead is way more extraordinary than even that interstellar spacecraft. —That is why in our court systems, evidence has to scale with the claims and that which can be asserted without extraordinary evidence can be dismissed without evidence ☑. . . Faith, honestly applied, can prove anything, —just anything. It’s all true by faith, any claim. All faiths are all true by faith. So it is very confusing because no amount of belief or feelings makes something true sans peer-reviewed evidence ☑.

    “the Bible is NOT a science textbook, nor is it meant to be a history book.” . . . .Then how do we keep the meaning in the Bible’s claims??? Far more importantly, that is not what Bible “scholars” and pastors said historically for centuries and centuries. They took it as the literal truth. Only when science started clearly showing the issues with it and deconstructing it with evidence did people start demythologizing the Bible and saying this and that isn’t literally ture. . . .Maybe heaven isn’t literally ture??? That really bothers me, JoAnn. Those things were taught as *fact* by Christians all through the centuries on end and the apostle Paul thought they were facts. The Adam and Eve story is not just about a fall from paradise: It goes to the heart of Christianity. Note that the Apostle Paul (in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15) argued that the whole point of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection was to undo Adam’s original sin. Without Adam, the work of Christ makes no sense whatsoever in Paul’s description of the Gospel, which is the classic description of the Gospel we have in the New Testament. . . .If that is more metaphor than fact, could the resurrection be more metaphor than fact too? Thousands of the most serious Bible scholars in the world have thought that. Maybe that is the way people talked back then, even thousands of years before Jesus and especially right before Jesus in the 1st century, they talked in miracles and magic. That is how they honored their heros.

    . . . Jesus is my Savior, my hero, but I fear, at times, other times I am fine, I fear I am just a total fool and He is just some archtype (re: not literal; not a science book; not historically accurate as you say). When you look at heros from the Greco-Roman world, Greco-Roman culture, all these heros have the same Mythic Hero Archetype: supernatural savior who was born of a virgin, healed the sick, raised the dead, changed water into wine, walked on water, rose from the grave and ascended bodily into the sky ☑. . . But so did Hercules, Apollonius of Tyana, Romulus the founder of the city of Rome, et.al. Millions and millions of people *totally* believed all these things about other Gods. . . Mithras was the Jesus of Mithraism, that was practised in the Roman Empire from the 1st to the 4th century, until the Christians killed all of them off (—evolution in religion?). —And it is significant that the early Christian apologists (1st and 2nd century) argued that these parallels to the gospels were counterfeits in advance, by Satan, who knew the real thing would be coming along later and wanted to throw people off the track. This is like the desperate Nineteenth-Century attempts of fundamentalists to claim that Satan had created fake dinosaur bones to tempt the faithful not to believe in Genesis! At any rate, and this is my point, no one would have argued this way had the pagan myths of dead and resurrected gods been more recent than the Christian. —All before Jesus:
    • Romulus: Roman state God, his death and resurrection celebrated in annual passion plays.
    • Osiris: Egyptian God, those baptized into his death and resurrection are saved in the afterlife.
    • Zalmoxis: Thracian God, his death and resurrection assures followers of eternal life., et.al. . . .

    “My husband and I have been using and enjoying this version for more than 40 years, and it has really blessed us.” . . . Bibles for America (BfA) . . . .Absolutely, I know them and they love the Bible, just like *all* of us! ☑ re: New Testament Recovery Version study Bible and the books by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. . . . .absolutely, I know and have read them and I love the Bible and I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and I agree with their statement of faith. . . . .But, I see the issues as clear as the Sun in the summer sky. It’s just like here where a wife is deeply in love with her husband but sees the “whatever-the-issues-are problems”. Again, thank you so much for sharing some of your life with me JoAnn, that is just beautiful. Again, Jesus is the best in-love experience I have ever had. —It is also true that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    . . . .As I have said, sometimes I think, something else, somehow, something else is going on at the intersection of psychology, theology, neuroscience but I don’t know what it is. I just know how I feel. “Faith” seems the word one uses when one does not have enough evidence to justify holding a belief in any normative sense, but when one just goes ahead and believes because of the way it makes them feel: i.e. helps them have hope. ―And hope is r-e-a-l-l-y important. ―I love that feeling, being in love with Jesus. It is the best in love experience EVER! ―For me, the search for truth takes me where the evidence leads me, even if, at first, I didn’t want to go there. . . . .Again, JoAnn, thank you so very much for sharing some of your life with me, that is just so special and beautiful. Again, ―I get it. ―I just don’t *fully* get it. ❣😊 💕 💗 ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ☑ —Thank you so much!!!

  52. Nancy on August 22, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Hi Aleea,

    I left a comment and it’s buried up somewhere among the posts of a very interesting discussion.

    I would encourage you to be consider what it means to have child-like faith. That’s the faith I’m after, with all of my heart ❤️

  53. Aleea on August 23, 2017 at 11:50 am

    . . . .I wanted to try, because I always feel like I do a poor job of communicating, a different type of analogy that I was thinking about today at lunch and see if it helps explain things better. . . . .Let’s say today I get back to my hotel room, plop down in front of the TV, switch it on, and I see an image of a giant creature smashing buildings in Tokyo, . . . .what is the first thing I infer, “Oh! I must be watching CNN!” Now, is it because I know darn well that monsters do not and cannot exist? I know no such thing! Cryptozoology tells us we may yet discover lingering dinosaurs hidden away here and there. All I know is that I have seen the likes of these monsters in a number of Toho Studios movies over the years, and I am probably watching the Sci-Fi channel, not CNN. Analogy impels me toward the matching genre. . . . .Okay, so now lets switch over to the Gospel of Matthew, it says that as Jesus died: “The veil of the temple tore in two from top to bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent, and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of holy men who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection they entered into the holy city and appeared to many. And then the centurion and those who were watching Jesus with him, when they saw the earthquake and the rest that happened, were quite terrified, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:51-54) None of the other Gospels or *any* source from the *entire* ancient world reports anything like this. Not anyone does or any other historian or writer of that place or period. Somehow all the people, all those who could write, all the rabbis of Jerusalem, failed to notice any rock splitting earthquake, or a huge hoard of walking dead wandering the city, or any of the numerous empty tombs they left behind. There also had to have been thousands of witnesses to so devastating an earthquake, and hundreds of witnesses to the hoard of resurrected dead and yet we have no way to fact check any of that. . . . .What should a reasonable person think given the evidence I have? . . . .What is more likely, I am watching CNN or the the Sci-Fi channel, not CNN. Could it be that Christianity was just a natural product of its time and culture, because that also predicts a great deal more than the reverse. It explains why Christianity shares so many things in common with the religions of its day (—from various Jewish sects to all the pagan mystery cults in that part of the world, at that time), including notions that would seem strange in any other cultural context yet were common at the time, like incarnation, resurrection, blood sacrifice, and vicarious atonement. Even the idea of a god having a son makes no sense, except then, under the Roman Empire, when many gods were believed to have sons. Christianity thus looks like an ordinary product of its time, not a supernatural miracle from a universal God. . . . .That’s my struggle, right there, and I feel it when my faith gets hit with the lack of evidence. Evidence is the only way to differentiate faith claims, because *all* claims are true by faith. Faith proves anything and everything. Only evidence that scales with the claims (more extraordinary for more extraordinary claims) can differentiate between them.

  54. JoAnn on August 23, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Aleea, I think that it comes down to you choosing whom you are going to believe. You say that you love Jesus, then believe Him!! Forget about all these other things. Be like the little children who the Lord took onto His lap and loved. Soak in His love, and in doing so, simply decide to believe Him. He predicted His own death and resurrection, so believe that He did what He said He would do. Let the Holy Spirit banish all your doubts and questions, and believe Him. God’s enemy installs doubts and confusion, but Jesus overcame that one. Let Him overcome the doubts and confusion in you. Just believe Him.

  55. JoAnn on August 23, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I would add, that it is the witness of the Holy Spirit in your human spirit that is the evidence that you need. Romans 8:16.
    That is what faith is.

  56. Nancy on August 23, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    I agree JoAnn. Jesus said we have ONE work: to believe in the one The Lord has sent. John 6 ( 39 I think).

    Believing is a choice. At some point, you’re going to have to make a choice Aleea.

    Did you see The Case for Christ? At the very end, this is what his Atheist friend tells him. It’s about choice.

    Incidentally, that is what won me to Him. His undeniable respect for me, in allowing me to make that choice for myself.

    He’ll never force you, Aleea. He’s the perfect gentleman.

    He will respect whatever choice you make ❤️

    • JoAnn on August 23, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Precious sister. 😉

Leave a Comment





Read More

Help, I’m Turning Into an Abuser Just Like My Abuser

                  Good Monday Morning Friends, I just returned from my annual girlfriend retreat. These wonderful women are such encouragers and truth tellers in my life. Do you have some real friends that you trust? People who know you well and you can be totally real with? God…

Read More...

How Do You Confront Your Spouse With His Unacceptable Behaviors?

                      Morning friends, I’m in sunny California today visiting my daughter and family for her birthday. Yesterday we went to the zoo. My favorite moment was at the gorilla exhibit. We were watching a huge male gorilla walk around with a ratty piece of cloth…

Read More...

Why We Must Never Forget Even When We Do Forgive

This post was originally published on ChristianCounseling.com. Working for over 30 years with couples attempting to recover from serious marital sin, I have often heard one of them say, “Why can’t you just forgive and forget?” or “You’re holding onto the past?  Can’t we start with a clean slate?” or, “God says that we’re to…

Read More...

Ask Your Question

Have a blog question you'd like to submit?