Morning friends,

 I am excited about the opportunity to speak this Friday to a group of pastors and counselors in the Southern California area on how to help women suffering in emotionally destructive marriages.  I put out a question on my CONQUER page about what you wish your pastor or Christian counselor had said to you when you sought help.  I’d be interested in your replies as well.

I am going to be opening up a brand new website targeting people helpers, pastors, counselors, and church leaders to provide education, support, and training. If you can help us to understand what you felt they lacked, that will also help me shape that training.

Question: I'm isolated. It's difficult to have female friends because if I open up, they walk away–can't hear it or don't want to understand or help. I have a masters degree, am introverted, highly empathic, competent, successful, and lonely. Women are jealous and competitive. They act superior to me. I end up running back to my husband and staying because I'm ostracized by females. I believe 3 strands make us strong but how do I develop those 3 strands of friendship?

Answer: I am sorry that you feel so lonely and isolated….and that you believe that you have no other options other than to run back to your spouse and stay with him because you haven’t been able to make good female friends.

I’m not sure why you have separated from your husband, but let’s instead look at your relationship with women. You say you have been ostracized by females. You also said that women are jealous, competitive, and act superior. They don’t want to hear you, don’t want to understand and don’t want to help you. Hmmm.

That’s a pretty bold statement to make about all women. I’m not sure about the kind of women that you have sought out as friends, but in my experience, most women are kind-hearted, generous, sacrificial, and caring, sometimes to a fault.

If you’ve followed my ministry, you know I look for patterns. Since you’ve had a pattern of finding or attracting the wrong kind of women as friends, I think it can be helpful when we have gotten into the same kind of destructive relationship pattern, again and again, to ask ourselves a self-reflective question. What’s going on with me? Why am I drawn to, or am attracting this kind of person to me again and again? Or am I coloring all future people and relationships on some bad experiences from my past? What’s going on?

I would give the same advice for a woman who found herself repeatedly picking poor male partners. For example, if a woman gets divorced from a destructive spouse and then finds herself in another destructive relationship and then another, that does not prove all men are bad, narcissistic, alcoholic, or cruel. What it does show is that her people picker is off and she is gravitating or drawn to men with unhealthy character traits.

It’s tempting to get discouraged from your experiences and tell yourself a story, a lie, that “all women are bad” but that simply is not true.  So the next question is, what do you need to do differently to find some better female friends?

I’d really welcome the perspectives of other women on the blog but let me share a few of my own thoughts.

I think finding good friends is harder as we get older. Sometimes our children provided opportunities for us to meet a lot of different mom’s who later became our friends too. Once the kids grow up, finding good friends isn’t quite as easy. It’s not like we can walk up to a woman at church and say “do you want to be my friend?”

Finding and developing quality female friends is going to take some effort, especially in today’s world of isolation and business. Click To Tweet

So here are a few suggestions.

1. Put yourself in activities you enjoy where you can meet new people. That might be a choir, Bible study, helping feed the homeless, line dancing, volunteering at a pregnancy center or the American Red Cross, hiking, photography, biking, or cooking classes. When you do that, you will find other like-minded people also share a love or interest in those activities. As you get to know people in a group, certain individuals will stand out more than others. Some women there might appear more self-centered, but a few women will stand out. She might have some great insights to share or good tips she’s learned from other classes. When you see a woman who seems like a potential person to develop a friendship, start talking with her more in class. See what she’s like. Suggest a coffee or dessert after class and see what happens. Friendships develop slowly and over time.There are week-long wilderness or camping vacations or cruises that cater to women who want to build better bonds.  Also, retreats and other shared experiences can forge bonds of friendship faster than more casual meet-ups can.

2. Friendships form at different levels. There are fun friends, casual friends, and close, deep, sister-type friends. Not every friendship has to be at the same level. I have enjoyed certain friends right now in my new location, but I would not consider them my “close friends” yet. There is that potential, but I’m still getting to know them.  I’m listening to how they interact with others, how they treat people when they get upset, how they “talk” about someone when the person is not there, how they care for one another when one gets sick. These things show a person’s character, and for close friends, I want to find a person of trustworthy character. However, that does not mean that my fun and casual friends are not friends and that I don’t enjoy them. All of them have good qualities that I enjoy.

3. Be the friend you’d like to have. Not only are you attracted to certain kinds of people, they are also attracted to you. Since you described yourself as educated, successful and highly empathic, I wonder if you are attracting more needy people who are looking to get something from you rather than having a reciprocal friendship. Or could you be intimidating women with some of your strengths? I’d encourage you to plant yourself in a good church or some other organization where you can serve and love people. When you do that, people will be attracted to you. From there you can see if something deeper can develop.

We all need friends. Women especially feel that disconnection and you are right to want to develop better female friendships. But I would encourage you to start by reevaluating your global assessment about all women. Thinking in that way will keep you from seeing anything other than what you already think and that will keep you frustrated and lonely.

Friend, when you are looking for a new friend, what did you do to find one?

77 Comments

  1. Cat on September 13, 2017 at 7:18 am

    I too, have trouble making new friends. I had a bff that passed away from a debilitating disease almost 7 years ago. I spent the majority of my “free time” with her while she continued to dwindle and eventually passed. Since then I haven’t really been able to connect with anyone else. When I and my h are not working, he expects me to spend my free time with him. I don’t do anything during the evenings with anyone due to this.

    I am a devoted Christian woman and we did attend our church for a few years after we got together (9 years ago) however, he comes up with excuses to not attend any longer. He claims to be, and I believe he is, a believer, but chooses to watch the videos of our pastors sermons rather than attend, which are posted every week. I’ve told him I am going to go and he “goes off” and I end up caving, just to get along. Isolated. That’s how I feel and am lonely as well. I work in a small office environment and do get along well with the other 3 women there, but don’t feel like I can do anything with any of them as my h expects me to be home with him.

    I’m happy that I found this site. I can at least share my experiences and gain positive energy from others here.

    • Brave Rabbit on September 13, 2017 at 8:11 am

      Hi Cat

      It sounds as though you are being isolated and controlled. You have the choice and freedom to choose what you want to do. I used to ask for permission to go to church and it was met by a lot of grumbling and being shut out when I did. And then one day while I was reading my devotional I had an aha moment about putting God first. I leave my h home to sulk without me and I enjoy my church time AND fellowship time. I used to run home right after church because I was trying to anticipate h’s needs above my own. H is welcome to go with me any time he wants, but that’s HIS choice. When I realised that I have the freedom to do what I need to do for myself, it opened up my eyes to a lot of what’s going on in my life.

      Being at church and in fellowship is rewarding. I too don’t have any friends. I’d allowed myself to be isolated. But NO MORE! I know I m shouting lol. But I’m so excited to share my story with hopes of inspiring you. Recently a woman in church came up to me and invited me to join her in an art class. She said she’d heard I like to do crafty art things. I was so excited I immediately said yes. This is all totally a God thing. I’ve been looking at returning to college or continuing education classes for enjoyment and networking with other women in hopes of developing friends.

      I stepped out in faith and I’m being blessed beyond measure.

      I’m praying for you Cat.
      💞💜😁😇💞💞💞

      • Nancy on September 13, 2017 at 9:04 am

        Brave Rabbit!

        There is such a sense of FREEDOM in your post! It’s wonderful to feel the strength of The Lord coming through in your voice.

        God is so GOOD ❤️

      • JoAnn on September 13, 2017 at 10:12 am

        Brave Rabbit…So good to hear from you again and to see that you truly are finding you way. Getting braver by the day. Praise the Lord!!!

      • Islesouljah on September 13, 2017 at 4:45 pm

        Mahalo Cat, your response resonated in my Spirit. I am in the same position except my H is 5th generation Christian and has been a youth Pastor, Associate and Senior Pastor. He has given up on the church. I have never done ministry or attended without him but I know, I know that my Spirit needs to be part of a church body, part of the worhship experience and to be amongst other believers. So thank you, for speaking truth and into my Spirit.

      • Cat on September 14, 2017 at 7:16 am

        Thank you Brave Rabbit!
        Your comments give me much hope!! That I do need to just go ahead and go to church when I want to. Not be afraid of what h might say or how he may act. I shouldn’t feel like a prisoner.

        Thank you for your prayers as well.

        • JoAnn on September 14, 2017 at 12:05 pm

          Yes, Cat, and maybe it would be good to visit your family without him, when possible. This is not a healthy situation. Be careful, and be aware of what is really going on. Have you read Leslie’s book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage? Work on your CORE strength, and look to the Lord as to what steps He would have you to take to get your own life and identity back.

        • JoAnn on October 10, 2017 at 12:05 pm

          It’s important for you to set some boundaries, to protect your heart. If he “goes off” at you for wanting to do something without him, just walk away, saying “I won’t allow myself to be yelled at like that any longer. I also won’t allow myself to be isolated any longer.” Then walk away. You need to have a good exit plan, in case he gets physical. Other posts here have offered strategies for that. Be careful, and also be strong.

      • Liz on October 10, 2017 at 11:45 am

        Excellent Brave Rabbit!
        Cat, please don’t be controlled like that.

    • PT on September 13, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      You do know the isolation is a form of abuse, right? Glad you found this site too. We understand completely.

      • TU on September 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm

        Truth. I met my DH in high school and he began separating me from everything and everyone particularly male friends. It’s been 3 decades. I found out in 2000 he was a porn addict and by 2012, I found out he’d been lying, cheating, and manipulating me since we met.
        I too am learning to rediscover life and friends. I am learning to deal with the shame of letting a man control me although it took so long to get it.
        I have health issues from his betrayal trauma so I reach out online and go to church and other things as I am able.
        It beats being a Real Life Rapunzel.
        As an African American & Native American woman, we are supposed to be tough and not controlled by any man!
        Huh! What a lie. It happens and it doesn’t look like you’re being controlled because many men use things to express love which is of short supply in our community.
        That’s what got me hooked at such a young age. Now, I know that love is 1 Corinthians 13.
        If I can’t be loved like that or live in this way—Forget it.
        There are good women out there. We do need to check unrealistic expectations at the door.
        I fight a intercultural bias at times because I have varied interests and don’t “sound” or “act” like many in our culture expect.
        I don’t try to befriend women like that even if we are the same race.
        A friend is a person whom you can love and loves you despite race not because you are their mirror image.
        Keep trying. If I can push past agoraphobic and a panic disorder to live–you can too. God Bless

      • TU on September 16, 2017 at 4:38 pm

        The Truth.

  2. Anewanon on September 13, 2017 at 7:41 am

    I joined a “community bible study” (<— Google that) in my area and found lots of quality women friends who will (bonus round) pray with me! If your church has community groups, join in. Women, mostly, are running vacation Bible schools – jump in and help.

    from Acts 2: "The believers studied what the apostles taught. They shared their lives together. They ate and prayed together. 43 Everyone was amazed at what God was doing. They were amazed when the apostles performed many wonders and signs. 44 All the believers were together. They shared everything they had. 45 They sold property and other things they owned. They gave to anyone who needed something. 46 Every day they met together in the temple courtyard. They ate meals together in their homes. Their hearts were glad and sincere. 47 They praised God. They were respected by all the people. Every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved."

    To meet other Christian women, go to where they would gather and join in their praise of Jesus. I am praying that good Christian women friends will become abundant in your life.

    • Theresa on September 13, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      This is another timely topic that Leslie has addressed for us. I resonate with your reply Anewanon 🙂 …having suffered a similar experience as the woman described in Leslie’s article above. I’ve joined and dropped out of churches after my inability to connect with women became evident to me…until finally giving up on being part of any local church, finding online church attendance most comforting. After reading Leslie’s books and joining Conquer, I found my same interpersonal pattern emerging on the Secret Facebook Groups and decidedly dropped out. However, recently, a local church came to my attention and I visited them with my severely disabled sons>> we were all so wonderfully welcomed. People actually came up to us and talked with me. I wasn’t a lonely soul in a Mega Church crowd. One very kind lady sat by me through the entire service and insightfully suggested some Bible Study Home Groups that would be meeting, starting in October…. that I might really enjoy being apart of. My spirit leaped to where Jesus is praying for me, by our Father. JESUS died such an agonizingly lonely death that we would be joyfully together with HIM AND HIS CHURCH NOW, ALWAYS & FOREVER. I think I’ve been listening to satan’s lies. The Holy Spirit is breaking through that “web of deceit”. I won’t lean on a spider web (or the world wide web) but I will trust (lean on, rest in) JESUS to help me connect with His precious Beloved followers>> whatever the gender or age, JESUS did not die in vain. He was lonely on that Cross so we could be wondrously connected together in genuinely authentic joy>> in HIS PRESENCE IS FULLNESS OF JOY>> JESUS RESURRECTED FROM THAT CROSS>> WHERE HE IS WE ARE>> WHEREVER THE KING IS>>THERE IS THE KINGDOM>> I don’t know how to love, but HE DOES. I will let HIM love through me. My past won’t determine the future because JESUS died to secure our togetherness even through our present weaknesses…HE WILL HELP US WHEN WE ASK HIM TO and I’m trusting His Holy Spirit to transform our weaknesses by HIS LOVING NATURE…living in us. So many words…i believe will be translated into reality, by CHRIST, HIMSELF, my only hope. Thanks for praying for me, too, Anewanon… pardon my long comment. I ask Abba Father to give you His fullness of joy, with every breath, now & forever, as always you are HIS BELOVED. Amen!

      • JoAnn on September 14, 2017 at 12:14 pm

        Theresa, I am glad that you have found fellowship that is welcoming and encouraging. Your past pattern of avoiding relationships is troubling, however, so i would caution you: if/when you begin to feel that you have to leave this one, examine what is going on in your mind that makes you want to leave. This would be an important issue to work through with a counselor, as it is an indication that there is something deeper going on within your soul. We are “called into the fellowship of His Son” (1 Cor. 1:9), so for our growth in the Christian life, we must be in fellowship.

  3. Alene on September 13, 2017 at 7:44 am

    When we are hurting, our hurting can filter into our conversations and can become the focus of them with friends. This can feel overwhelming or toxic to others if there are no limitations for it, if we are presenting our hurt in lieu of presenting ourselves to the other person, and if our friendship with the other person isn’t actually a friendship of the type that can handle sharing hurts or can only do so in a very limited way.
    I had a friend I wanted to support who was very frustrated with her difficult situation with her husband; the frustration felt like a grasping drowning person. It was hard to tread water near her. She was seeking to control so much. She was frustrated seeking to do it all and also with doctors not having answers (there were health concerns too). I knew she needed a friend; yet there was no way around the fact that it was a difficult friendship. She wanted to give too. It was a harder relationship.
    I just realized recently that as I was seeking some outside help and reached out to a ministry leader that I lead with my hurt, with the problem, and didn’t give her a chance to get to know me.
    The Lord says that if you want friends, to be a friend (Proverbs) and that diamond phrase has a lot of beautiful facets to dig into.
    Leslie brought up that we tend to attract what we are giving out which is a good indication we can check our own hearts first; what type of friend or person are we being? have our true values and selves gotten buried or do we need to realize and rethink some things?

    • Nancy on September 13, 2017 at 9:02 am

      Alene,

      Thank you so much for this insightful post. You put your finger on what, I believe, the Lord is trying to work on, in me.

      I’m going to meditate on that Proverb 🌱

  4. Faith on September 13, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Very good information about assessing and being a good friend. I also liked the recommendation not to give up on the opposite sex and paint with a broad brush. I
    Have Ben through a divorce and reality and trust have made me Leary of hope because I didn’t want to see the realities in my life. I now realize that living in reality not fantasy is my objective but trust is hard right now. I’m learning to trust Jesus which is transforming me. Relating to God and receiving His love will ground me as I relate to others. I’m going inside out versus outside in theses days. I am becoming unshackled from the unhealthy ways I’ve related and learning to see what healthy is while realizing we are all just human. Your tips helped in giving assessment or awareness ideas. Thank you.

  5. Nancy on September 13, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I am an introvert too and it took me a very long time to find a really good friend, one who is discerning, doesn’t gossip, but gives me great relationship advice. She has a prophetic gift that has served me well and helped draw out my spiritual gifts as well. How did I find her? I was serving at church, painting a mural, when her brother, who was part of the church worship team along with my husband, saw me and said, “I think you and my sister would get along very well.” So, being willing to get involved in church, even though I didn’t have much in the way of good friends at the time, helped bring me into contact with her. So, I would suggest don’t give up. A good friend who can find? You may think you’ve “fished all night” as Peter had, but Jesus can provide the catch when it comes to having friends. I hope that encourages you.

  6. Aleea on September 13, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    The women asking the question states: “. . . .Women are jealous and competitive. They act superior to me. I end up running back to my husband and staying because I’m ostracized by females.”

    “Friend, when you are looking for a new friend, what did you do to find one?”

    . . . .Well, lots of excellent advice from Leslie and others. . . . .I think if you want deep, real friends, you have to get the masks off and you have to know yourself first. Leslie says: It’s not like we can walk up to a woman at church and say “do you want to be my friend?” . . . .I think the only thing that would keep us from doing that is our pride. If we have deeply prayed about it and the Lord is directing us, then honestly what is wrong with walking up and asking that question other than our pride? If you’re going to try, —try. This could mean losing your pride but what are you really, honestly losing if someone says “no”? How much do you really want new friends, —only if it is easy? Nothing good is easy.

    . . .Maybe let go of expecting people to behave a certain way or to treat you a certain way (my counselor encourages no expectations. . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .I still don’t fully understand that!) . . .But I feel I’m less idealistic about my relationships than I’ve ever been. I want a person to be themselves, the good and *all* the bad too. I want authenticity and many find it hard to be authentic even with themselves. It’s from our authentic selves where true connections are made. . . .So maybe when you do talk to women, share what you really, deeply value. I know that is really hard. . . .But the truth is, everyone is going to hurt you, even the best intentioned. You just have to find the ones worth suffering for. . . .For me, friendship is born at the moment when another woman says: “—What! —You too!? —I thought that no one else ever asked questions like that!” . . .And honestly, you don’t have to have any answers to be that friend. When we ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, I know I find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share my pain and touch my wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with me in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with me in an hour of grief, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with me the reality of our powerlessness, —that is a friend who cares.

    —Contact, that’s all it takes. . . .Put your hand out and say your name. . . .And you’ll know, because when someone loves you, the way they talk about you is different. You feel safe and comfortable. —And it is worth it because there is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate! . . .But honestly, the capacity for friendship is. . . .it is like God’s way of apologizing for our families, especially -in my case- my mother. . . .And even if you find lots of good friends to surround yourself with, by all means, always be on your own best friend —that’s where it all starts anyway.

  7. Allie on September 13, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    I too find it hard to have close relationships with females. I have 2 or 3 close female friends. I have more male friends than female friends because I find that they are more real and genuine. Most of the women I meet are superficial and catty. I truly understand.

    • JoAnn on September 14, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Two or three close friends is pretty good, I would say. We usually don’t need more than that in our “inner circle” of friends. Other friends, a little farther out, can serve other needs: someone to go to the movies with, or do hobbies with, or be in a book club. think of yourself as being in the center of several concentric circles, with a number of friends in each circle, some close and others farther out. that is healthy. Of course it is always good if one or two of our friends are prayer partners. Even then, we don’t always pray about our most intimate concerns unless we feel safe to do so.

      • Anewanon on September 20, 2017 at 11:45 pm

        JoAnn,

        That makes you just like Jesus. He had many friends, he had 12 disciples, but, he had his inner circle of only 3 friends: Peter, James, John. Thumbs up, you’re in good company!

        A-new-anon

        • JoAnn on September 21, 2017 at 2:43 pm

          I’m smiling.

    • Liz on October 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      Excellent Brave Rabbit!
      Cat, please don’t be controlled like that.

  8. PT on September 13, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I have found friends by doing things I enjoy. I find people who want to walk, go to movies, join a book club, do volunteer work or travel. I often avoid people with similar life situations. In fact a avoid people who complain, criticize or are just so happy with the here and now that they are not interested in spiritual things.

    • Theresa on September 14, 2017 at 8:35 am

      WOW, PT…! Your comment helps me realize why it feels painful for me to be in “support groups”. Reading your experience, “I often avoid people with similar life situations”, hits a bullseye. I’m becoming able to “set healing boundaries”. I am limiting my time interacting with others who have similar life challenges as mine. 1) Excessive listening to or partaking in valid “emotional venting”, at this point in my recovery progression becomes debilitatingly exhaustive and tempts my “co-dependency” proclivity. 2) Restricting “support group” interaction with an eye to thriving rather than being stuck in victim mentality or merely “surviving” and widening my involvement with people and situations where “recovering” conversations just don’t happen (unless I unwisely “regress”) is my BEST ROUTE TO FEELING GOOD AND ACTUALLY HAPPY. Thanks for whoever read this and found it helpful. Again, I appreciate your concise comment, PT. Cheers!!!

  9. Daisy on September 13, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    I totally understand where you are coming from. I’m a 100% introvert, so approaching people is nearly impossible for me. Even as a child, girls didn’t talk to me. I can’t say that I really had any friends. I married a Pastor and as a Pastor’s wife, you are pretty much alone (no one really wants to be friends with the Pastor, his wife, or his family). Add to that, my husband isolated me (we were in the country and I was a stay at home mom. Then, when I was getting close to some people there, we moved, so I had to start all over again).
    Leslie’s comment “It’s not like we can walk up to a woman at church and say “do you want to be my friend?” reminded me of conversations that my husband and I would have. He’d tell me to go out and “make a friend.” I’d respond by telling him, “I can’t just call 1-800-FRIEND and order one like you can with flowers!”
    In our new place, I found some women to hang out and scrapbook with, but those relationships were uncertain after my husband and I divorced. By necessity, I was forced to find a new church, a job, and new friends. My friends now are mostly in their 70’s and 80’s (while I’m in my mid 40’s). Being a single woman, I don’t really feel comfortable talking to men anymore (due to the whole emphasis on “emotional affairs” now. I don’t want single guys to think I’m hitting on them and I don’t want married ones to think I’m trying to have an affair with them). In the end, I pretty much keep to myself and my group of “older” friends. Although, much older than me, they have given me valuable wisdom, insight, and friendship over the years as I struggled with feelings about my divorce, trying to raise my kids, deal with my ex, etc.

    • PT on September 13, 2017 at 7:03 pm

      Daisy, I wear my wedding ring even though divorced. It keeps unwanted advances from men away. In my case I don’t want another husband or boyfriend so the ring gives me a lot of freedom.

    • Anewanon on September 20, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      Daisy,

      You were a pastor’s wife and now are divorced? I am so sorry. i simply can’t imagine. Is he saved? I pray that women who “get” spiritual/emotional abuse come alongside you and help you with this burden. (((hugs)))

      A-new-anon

  10. Daisy on September 13, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    I’d also have to add some of my acquaintances (not sure they’d be considered “friends”) have been “seasonal friends” meaning they just came into my life at certain times and then seemed to disappear and not have much contact anymore.

  11. Maria on September 13, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    I am very careful with whom I confide in about being in an emotionally destructive marriage. But there have been times when I have, and I have been surprised at some of the responses I have received. Some are uncomfortable, some pretend that they don’t know, some prefer not to be involved, they just want a superficial friendship.

    • Sunshine on September 13, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      I agree. I have also found people, once they know, are afraid to be around my husband. Therefore things are suddenly cancelled if people realize he could be around. Red flag to me right? If other people find him scary, why are you with him? So true.

      • Cat on September 14, 2017 at 7:11 am

        Yes, this happens to me as well. Even with family members. I continually have anxiety when there is a family function coming up. I love my family (my kids, my parents, my granddaughter) and I always feel that something might spark my h to be upset in front of family members…. he does speak his mind without regard to how it may effect people. I’m on pins n needles a lot of the time when someone is over. I invite other family members (brother/sis in-law, etc.) and they always have an excuse of why not to visit with us. I know it’s due to h’s loudness and uncontrolled comments that make others “turn and run.”

    • JoAnn on September 14, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      I think “superficial friendships” are also helpful, because it is in that kind of relationship that we can learn to be comfortable in a variety of social situations. The women in your hobby or book club, for instance, don’t need to know your whole history, but you can enjoy being accepted among women with common interests, sharing your opinions about a book you read, etc. There are different levels of intimacy in friendships, and all are valid and helpful.

      • Maria on September 15, 2017 at 3:14 pm

        JoAnn, I agree that superficial friends are helpful. But it is hurtful when someone you thought of as a close friend just ignores you after learning you are in an emotionally destructive marriage.

        • JoAnn on September 17, 2017 at 8:03 pm

          I agree, Maria, and I am so very sorry that your friend abandoned you at a time when you needed her. I wonder if perhaps she also is hurting and just hadn’t opened up to you about it. In any case, I’m sorry that she hurt you so deeply.

      • Aly on September 17, 2017 at 7:22 am

        JoAnn,

        I agree JoAnn with much of what you expressed and might emphasize the importance of looking at what types we are most drawn too?

        I think where we spend and invest our time in friendship and the climate of that relationship tells a lot about our preferences and comforts.
        Time is one of my precious resources, and if I spend lots and lots of time in superficial places i could get quite comfy or lack growing in other places;)….I do think it’s important to look at where we invest and why and how time we find ourselves pulled to those types of activities or friendships.

        Because my husband was raised and developed superficial living ~ ‘false self’.. it was very difficult for him to develop his intimacy with God and with a few others.

        I do think friendships are critical to the body of Christ and to our overall health &growth, they highlight and reveal a lot about ourselves and if we want and desire to ‘be known’.
        I believe God designed us for relationships where we can be known by Him first and others too, it’s part of our healing and growing process living in the body.

        I’m grateful for the friends I have that can have fun, laugh, cry, are joyful, prayerful, dependable, and can have outings to explore.. but mostly being present enjoying relationship together and learning more about what it is and how we can be influenced to be healthier friends, healthier mom’s, healthier wives and mostly keeping our eyes set on who we are as Daughters of the King💖 first.

        • JoAnn on September 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm

          Aly, I love that you said this: “I’m grateful for the friends I have that can have fun, laugh, cry, are joyful, prayerful, dependable, and can have outings to explore.. but mostly being present enjoying relationship together and learning more about what it is and how we can be influenced to be healthier friends, healthier mom’s, healthier wives and mostly keeping our eyes set on who we are as Daughters of the King💖 first.” It is a real blessing to have even one like you describe.

  12. Sunshine on September 13, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I agree. I have also found people, once they know, are afraid to be around my husband. Therefore things are suddenly cancelled if people realize he could be around. Red flag to me right? If other people find him scary, why are you with him? So true.

  13. DJ on September 14, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Yes – all Godly pursuits are HARD….but worth it.
    Never give up and in due time, HE will reward you.

  14. PT on September 14, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Your reply was very kind. I just think that I don’t want “victim” or “survivor”to be my identity. I want to seize life fully. There is a sense that I gave so much of my life to my abuser that now, I want to live! Gobble up every fun, happy moment and celebrate it fully present and will a joyful heart. I seek out quality events, time, experiences and people.

    I know how to live on crumbs, not I would like to select my cake and enjoy my chosen slice.

    Happy snacking!

  15. PT on September 14, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Your reply was very kind. I just think that I don’t want “victim” or “survivor”to be my identity. I want to seize life fully. There is a sense that I gave so much of my life to my abuser that now, I want to live! Gobble up every fun, happy moment and celebrate it fully present and will a joyful heart. I seek out quality events, time, experiences and people.

    I know how to live on crumbs, not I would like to select my cake and enjoy my chosen slice.

    Happy snacking!

    • Theresa on September 17, 2017 at 8:52 am

      no more crumbs of goodness, but a full CONTINUAL FEAST…AMEN. (thank you, PT for that great analogy!!! 😀 )

  16. Kate on September 14, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks for this great topic! When I married my husband 16 years ago, I mistakenly married and adopted his social skills. This was not a good thing as he really didn’t have many of those skills, and I had not yet read Leslie’s materials or counsel. I had previously lived in a busy family-centered city. I moved to his rural town where interactions with neighbors were separated by dense trees and alcoholism ( yes,even within the church family) and winter snow and ice.
    Thankfully I am no longer socially isolated. I prayed every year for a new friend and God has answered. I had to take steps of faith and let go of fears I had developed such as driving at night, going out despite my husband’s complaints of wasting gas etc., and fear of unfriendly people.
    I now seem to have many friends and feel like I’m in college or high school again. This is what I learned:
    Isolation can make me depressed which was not good for my perspective, hence not good for friendships. Be careful of well-meaning non-Christian friendships. It is easy to get involved when you are lonely, but secular recovery friends focused on problems —-over and over again; this drew me away from some church connections. After many years of searching I found Celebrate Recovery and a great group of Christian friends. Finding a church which nurtures my relationship with God and where I can be honest with other believers also took some time and courage, but better that than being lonely and stagnant spiritually. Trying a whole new activity is good for me mentally and socially. I recently took a calligraphy class and really enjoyed myself and the people. As many of you have already written and implied: Jesus came to give us life.

    • JoAnn on September 14, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      What a great success story, Kate. Thanks for sharing.

      • Roxanne on September 17, 2017 at 4:35 am

        We can’t fault the healthy person for not being interested in getting in our lives. Think about it most people who act like our husbands act are put in jail or a mental institution. If they act like they do in the workplace or in the public forum they would be contained. However our abusers get away with all their tricks like cowards. Their domain is the privacy of their own home and their victims are their wives a children. The average person finds someone like that repulsive.

        • Anewanon on September 21, 2017 at 12:03 am

          Yep.

          And my “resultant pain” from his actions or non-actions, lies and deceptions, would have led to a FIRING by his boss had the target been him instead of me. But because I hung in there and kept TRYING to bear under HIS SINFUL behavior, I became someone I never wanted to be. Thus I became a woman that he could then turn a pointed finger at and say “See? she’s crazy.” A frog in boiling water.

          Jam 3:16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

          He was SAFE to let his selfish ambition eek out in my (enabling) company. He grew worse, I grew to be someone I wasn’t and never wanted to become.

          Who you love and what you love will change you. Choose wisely and with intention. “FALLING” in love is dangerous. Time is our greatest treasure. Spend it wisely.

          • JoAnn on September 21, 2017 at 2:48 pm

            Yes, all very good advice. I like what you said, “falling in love is dangerous.” I think it’s better to lead with our head, then if he passes all the tests, we can allow ourselves to love. It worked for me. Fifty years ago!



  17. Roxanne on September 15, 2017 at 5:19 am

    Sometimes to have a friend, we need to be a friend. It is very difficult to be a friend when our difficult partner tries to thwart any break from their control and agenda. I would say yes to an event or activity, only to have H make a scene or create a ploy about why I couldn’t leave. After a few occasions of these last minute cancellations people stop asking. Fear of entertaing develops and if one insists and carries on, there will be consequences.

    Why oh, why do we tolerate this?

    • Aly on September 17, 2017 at 7:34 am

      Roxanne,

      I’m sorry about what you wrote and can relate a little. Most abusive dynamics have this place of ‘isolation and control’ going on. Keeps healthier individuals out and would keep you from developing more safe relationships which would empower your strength and support circle.
      I’m confused about the following?
      “After a few occasions of these last minute cancellations people stop asking. Fear of entertaing develops and if one insists and carries on, there will be consequences”

      Can you expand on the consequences..? And do you mean people stop attempting to make plans or build relationship because of the cancellations ‘that seem often’?

      I can relate to both sides of the pattern of cancelling~ whether with my single friends or a marital person/family ‘orbiting’ in their destructive relationships.

      • Roxanne on September 17, 2017 at 5:32 pm

        Consequences from the abusive spouse. If it is some one the spouse doesn’t want you to associate with, they create drama. Once I missed a baby shower as self absorbed spouse thought his latest rant about an injustices he imagined should take precedence over a baby shower. Arriving embarrassingly late for that event, and H would not let me call, the social trust in that group was damaged. H didn’t care. How dare I want to do anything other than minister to his emotional needs.

  18. Aleea on September 15, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Re: further thoughts on making *real* friends. . . .

    If you don’t know who you truly are, you’ll never know what you really want. If you let others tell you who you are, you are living their reality —not yours. There is way more to life than pleasing. . . . .You’ll never know who you are unless you shed who you pretend to be. I say this to myself first. There is much more to life than following others’ prescribed paths. . . .

    . . . .and the risk that might break you is the one that would save. . . .A life you don’t live is totally lost!!! —Or, the caves you fear to enter hold the treasures you seek. Just like the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, —but who you are. . . .The Truth (the *real* truth) needs no believers. . . .Reality is that which, when you totally stop believing in it, it just doesn’t go away. . . People *believe* in lies. Truth needs no believers and when you invent lies you become a great leader. That is how hundreds of faith and belief systems exist. . . .I wander through myth and fiction to look for the truth, buried beneath all the lies. . . .

    —So the contact part I mentioned above (—put your hand out and say your name) for me looks like this: . . . Hello my name is Aleea Rodgers, I care if what I believe is really true, not that it is just useful. . . . .but useful may actually make it truer than true even if it is not literally, historically, actually true. . . . .But I haven’t figured all that out yet . . .but, I do know that no amount of “belief” makes something true.

    . . . .Maybe the biggest mistake we make when trying to be authentic is just that: we try. We see these “role models” of what an “authentic” person is supposed to look like or act like, and we try to emulate that. . . .But it seems to me that authenticity is about allowing things to be what they are. Authenticity is about getting away from hiding, from wearing masks, from always asking, “How should I act? What can I say without getting in trouble? What should I say? What will people think?” That includes asking, “How should an authentic person act? What would a genuine person say?”

    . . . .Maybe at its core, authenticity is the practice of surrendering the tiresome task of keeping up all these appearances and taking up the lifetime work of allowing what is already within us to come out while we remove as many internal and external obstacles as possible. . . . And who knows what will spill out of us if we just allow it to? Who knows what is within you awaiting recognition, awaiting permission to show itself to the world? Even you don’t know—until you try. Or, rather, until we stop trying. Until we become curious. . . .and it is important to pause and remember: It is through our deepest trials and life’s hardships that we are given the greatest opportunity to find the friends we have been looking for our whole life and most importantly, find our best friend, our authentic beautiful self. If we can learn to be our own best friend first, then maybe we will find true happiness, because happiness is from within. . . .or maybe, . . .maybe that’s wrong, maybe it is being able to be so intimate with God that He’s our very best friend . . .but I don’t know that either. When we can’t escape our minds then maybe God is telling our hearts to catch up. . . .

  19. Aleea on September 16, 2017 at 8:07 am

    . . . .and I forgot to mention a book written this year that one of my Bible Study groups worked through this past May: “Messy Beautiful Friendship: Finding and Nurturing Deep and Lasting Relationships” paperback –April 18, 2017 by Christine Hoover. . . . Christine is a church planting pastor’s wife, three boys, et.al. . . . .She is a speaker and an author of many books, From Good to Grace, etc. . . .Very good, excellent insights into friendships and everyone in the class wanted to make more friends . . .REAL ONES! . . .so it was just great. . . .and I always ask God for wisdom because we know so very, very little. . . . .What is your friend? The things you know, or the things you don’t know? First of all, there are massively more things you and I don’t know than we “know” (—or think we know). The things we don’t know are the birthplace of all new friendships! So if you make the things you don’t know your friend, you’re always looking (a quest) . . .in the off chance that somebody who doesn’t agree with you will tell you something you couldn’t have figured out on your own! It’s a completely different way of looking at the world. It’s the antithesis of opinionated! . . .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 and the Truth, the Truth needs no believers. We think that in reducing the scope and importance of our errors, we are properly humble; in truth, we are merely unwilling to bear the weight of our true responsibility. The things that pose the greatest threats to our finding the Truth are the most real things. . . . .The purpose of life is finding the largest burden that you can bear and bearing it, trying to avoid responsibility makes our lives meaningless (Matthew 16 . . .pick up your cross, and follow continuously). . . .Friendship is the purest love. It is the highest form of Love where nothing is asked for, no conditions, where we simply enjoy giving. . .❣⌘ ღ ツ۵

  20. Nancy on September 16, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    HI Aleea!

    How are you sister? ❤️

    • Aleea on September 16, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      Hello Nancy!

      Thank you so much for asking. . . . . Today I am this Women’s Conference: Lisa Harper, Sarah Roberts, Lisa Bevere, Christine Caine, et.al. @ Hylton Chapel Christian Event Center with my friend Kimberly. . . I pray, feel God’s heart beats, experience His presence ―or whatever is going on! ―And I think about God at lots of breaths I take. I know He can stop them at any time. ―I am overwhelmed by the goodness of God, and I am so grateful to everyone who interacts and prays for me. That always amazes me, that people would pray for me. May God bless those that would give me this gift! ―Adonai!

      How am I? . . . .I made a Gravatar for that!!! Some things just need a picture. . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .there it is right up there to the left of “Aleea says. . . .”

      Thank you Nancy, I appreciate & value you. . . . ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ 💗 💖💜 💟😊 💕. . .

    • Nancy on September 17, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Sounds like you were filled up at your conference !

    • Aleea on September 18, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      . . . .hmm, —Absolutely. . . . —but filled up with all kinds of conclusions: If you have reasons to love someone, you don’t love them. . . .The problem for us is not if our desires are satisfied or not. The problem is how do we know what we really desire in the first place??? etc., etc., etc. . . .and, on Jesus, even with the best of efforts at re-construction, leave so many “truths” lost in the mists of antiquity. . . . .so much so that if we are to believe anything, we must get used to disagreeing with *lots* of other *deeply* committed, very well informed Christians. . . .and there can be no easy appeal to the “consensus” on much of anything, especially with the “experts”. Every conclusion is fully contradicted by equally qualified others. If we are holding our breath waiting for any consensus, we will pass out. . . . .So, maybe Christianity is not about accepting twenty impossible propositions before breakfast, but about doing things that change us. . . .moral and ethical alchemy. If you behave in a certain way, you will be transformed. Christianity is not true because it conforms to metaphysical, scientific or historical reality but because it is life enhancing, it tells you how human nature functions, but I will not discover these truths unless I apply these things to my life and put them into practice. . . .The truth is in the acting it out, nothing else. . .believing something to be true has nothing to do with whether it is true. . . It’s mystery. It is about the way things never were, but *always* are!

    • Aleea on September 20, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      “I feel as if I did love my husband for who he was. Then after years of lies and then truth surfacing, I learned that he enjoyed the darker things in life. I didn’t stop loving him, I only needed to get away to save my own spirit from the dark sinful choices, the deceptions and the cover-ups. To tear my own self away from him was extremely painful and now guilt-filled because I “couldn’t accept him as he was” from the outsider’s perspective and from his perspective.. And so to the world it looks like I had conditions on my love, when in fact I needed to protect my heart and my spirit and my soul from the path he was headed down.”

      Anewanon,
      I really had to pray and think about what you said. . . . I don’t really know what to say. Life is just so, so, so very hard.

      “I couldn’t love him to a place of wholeness, and to try was spiritually destructive to myself. I wish I was wrong. I still do love him so and wish I could turn my feelings to OFF.”

      . . . So, I asked Dr. Meier about what you said, she says: “Do not try to rescue someone who does not want to be rescued, and be very careful about rescuing someone who does.” Dr. Meier knows what she is talking about, she after all, is trying to help me. . . .

      . . . I (Aleea) say if old memories still make you cry, write them down carefully and completely in your journal. Treat yourself as if you were someone that you are responsible for helping. . . . like you were your own counselor. . . .and

      Make friends ONLY with people who want the best for you.

      Don’t avoid something frightening if it stands in your way but don’t do unnecessarily dangerous things.

      “I still struggle with sorting it all out. Thank you for your insights and conversation.”

      Anewanon,
      . . . a-n-y-t-i-m-e, I love comments. I love talking and interacting with people here, it is so, so deeply meaningful. . . . Remember that what you do not yet know is more important than what you already know and be grateful in spite of your suffering. . . . I know you are. 😊 💕. . .

  21. Roxanne on September 17, 2017 at 4:40 am

    Many people think that people who live with destructive spouses are insecure and must be a little crazy themselves. It hurts to heat, but healthy people don’t want such nonsense in their lives, no matter how nice you seem to be.

    • Maria on September 17, 2017 at 5:39 am

      Roxanne,

      It hurts when people just don’t want to be involved. Sometimes, I think if roles were reversed I would at least ask how things are going, pray for them and tell them that. On the other hand, if I pretended that things were great, these folks would want to be friends. They are not true friends. I’m sure they have their reasons for not wanting to get involved. I recently found out it may be fear that they would be called by the courts during a divorce situation. There’s one person I know who is married to a narcissist, and is trying to make things work, who didn’t want to be involved. That puzzled me. It also could be that life is hectic and they just don’t have time.

      • Roxanne on September 17, 2017 at 5:37 pm

        Fear is an answer I have heard. They don’t want their kids near your husband and wonder how he messed up your kids as well. Fear that he may hunt them down and harm them too.

        My church said it would violated there insurance policy to have services for domestic violence and they could not risk having my H on campus. Yet he was there in Sunday and it never stopped them from cashing our checks.

        • Maria on September 17, 2017 at 6:06 pm

          Roxanne, some of these ladies only know me, so in my case, that’s not it.

          • Roxanne on September 17, 2017 at 9:58 pm

            Not sure what you are talking about. Just general posts to no one specifically.



        • Sunshine on September 17, 2017 at 6:07 pm

          I also think that people who are not in destructive relationships have no idea what to say. Our church did a break out session at a ladies retreat about how to be more sensitive when visiting the sick. It was a great seminar. They talked about platitudes we say and suggested other possible approaches that might be more sensitive to those experiencing loss. I think that is sort of Leslie is trying to develop. How to train and inform people helpers to be sensitive to our particular dilemmas. Each dysfunction is unique until itself.

          • Maria on September 18, 2017 at 5:42 pm

            Yes, sunshine, that’s probably why some seem uncomfortable.



      • Nancy on September 17, 2017 at 9:19 pm

        Maria,
        The person who is trying to make it work with her narcissistic husband, but doesn’t want to be involved ( in a friendship with you, I’m guessing?).

        I would guess it’s because she’s trying to ‘make it work’ with her h by staying in denial. If she engaged with you in any kind of authentic way, that would mean engaging with the truth.

        • Maria on September 18, 2017 at 3:38 pm

          Nancy,

          Thanks for taking the time to write. She has told me that she has had to make all the changes, not him.

          • Theresa on September 19, 2017 at 11:29 am

            such great insights, I must acknowledge this… Leslie speaks of building CORE strength (and what happens to our physical health when our physical core strength is neglected?? a pain-free posture is abdicated when our core muscles are weak>> unbalanced >>>if we strengthen only a few muscles and forget the others that are needed to support the human backbone, then those overworked muscle groups become sorely fatigued, ie>> gluteal muscles need strengthening and not just the abs, etc.)>> we suffer backache/headache/hip pain, etc. when our CORE is imbalanced>> SO TOO will our “friends” become exhausted. I’m catastrophic proof of this. Will spare you the details. FIRST OFF>>> a spouse with narcissistic communicative patterns WILL NOT CHANGE THOSE PATTERNS. I’ve finally STOPPED TALKING WITH HIM ABOUT PROBLEMS THAT I WANT to be CHANGED. He’s incapable of reasoning with me for a solution. Complaining to girlfriends about THIS FACT IS A WASTE OF PRECIOUS GIRLFRIEND TOGETHERNESS AND THE FASTEST WAY TO BURN THAT RELATIONSHIP INTO A SABATOGED ASH HEAP. How often I have done that>> as my own “pity-party” of “self-centeredness>> when THE TRUTH IS>> how DARE I>> D = Disengage from the narcissist spouse regarding meaningful communication>> he does not see me>> because of his disorder>> he can not>> I MUST STOP EXPECTING HIM TO HEAR ME>> he will not. A = Accept this narc spouse relationship hurts me and I cannot change him, but I can change the dance. R = Reach out for Support where support may be found and not imposed (like onto girlfriends who will get burnt out by my heavy heart. E = ENOUGH is ENOUGH>> we deserve the best intimate relationships possible>> CORE STRENGTH TRUTH GIVES denial the DARE. Blessings dear friends…



  22. Shelly on September 18, 2017 at 10:08 am

    I moved to a new city when I divorced and found besides church and volunteering, there is a group called Meet Ups that are in every city with various different groups with different interests. It has given me something to do and is a good way to meet people too.

  23. Ruth on September 19, 2017 at 8:03 am

    I’ve mulled over the idea of starting a Book Club of sorts for a small group of ladies with the focus on books that renew our minds in Christ, and heal inner wounds, and encourage our walk with God.
    I don’t feel like I’m the one ‘out of the woods’ enough to lead it though. I have issues with shame from spiritual abuse that I haven’t overcome yet. 😔
    I know of excellent materials that we could use but I would prefer another woman who’s already ’emerged’ from the FOG of abuse to lead this study rather than me. (This sounds like something Aly would be good 😊 at!)
    Has anyone here done something like this?

    • Anewanon on September 19, 2017 at 8:14 am

      I would think that if you opened the club with the transparency that you just shared with us here, then ask the ladies to share in the same way, and invite the Holy Spirit and to be the leader. Would that work out? Just thinking out loud as I answer.

    • Brave Rabbit on September 19, 2017 at 8:58 am

      Hi Ruth

      I remember a bible study I was doing through a church that started at 6 pm. I knew that if I went home after work first before the study, I’d be kept from going to it. So I’d go to church right after work and hang out there for an hour and a half waiting for the bible study to start. I noticed a few other women who appeared to be hanging out too. Early on we all gravitated towards one another having brown bagged our dinners and would chat and eat. By chance someone mentioned a short book that spoke of self healing the inner child. (I cannot recall the title), collectively we decided to do it as a book club read and do the exercises in the book and share our experiences each week before the church bible study.

      I never thought of myself as a book club leader, but somehow I was elected. I was way out of my comfort zone, but I took a step of faith and did. We had the best time. There were 5 of us ranging in age from 30 to near 70.

      Our book finished 2 weeks before the bible study. I had the idea to do some kid activities for us the last two weeks. I surprised everyone with playdough one week and we sat around laughing and crafting silly things and the next week we colored in coloring books.

      Though our club didn’t start out in the traditional way, as a group we met up for one other book review similar to the format of the one we completed. And at the end of that book we all drifted away. I believe the gathering of our group was for just that season and it was all orchestrated by the Holy Spirit.

      I hope this helps. I just had a fun trip down memory lane. 😁💞🌸

    • Nancy on September 19, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      Hey Ruth,

      He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips those He calls.

      I agree with Anewanon 🙂 If he’s put it in your heart….go for it!

  24. Anewanon on September 19, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Aleea,
    That’s pretty profound. I need to process this concept where it concerns my former husband, if that’s ok.

    I feel as if I did love my husband for who he was. Then after years of lies and then truth surfacing, I learned that he enjoyed the darker things in life. I didn’t stop loving him, I only needed to get away to save my own spirit from the dark sinful choices, the deceptions and the cover-ups. To tear my own self away from him was extremely painful and now guilt-filled because I “couldn’t accept him as he was” from the outsider’s perspective and from his perspective.. And so to the world it looks like I had conditions on my love, when in fact I needed to protect my heart and my spirit and my soul from the path he was headed down.

    I couldn’t love him to a place of wholeness, and to try was spiritually destructive to myself. I wish I was wrong. I still do love him so and wish I could turn my feelings to OFF.

    The NT writers still offer many directives on what to do and what not to do to demonstrate your responding love to Christ Jesus. Some could argue that those directives are set of “rules” as well. Surely, I agree to the extent that no amount of rightness with how any choice aligns with God’s word, make it feel any less painful.

    I still struggle with sorting it all out. Thank you for your insights and conversation.

    • JoAnn on September 19, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      Anewanon, Your decision to protect yourself from the darkness was the right one. Romans 13:12, 2 Cor 6:14, and 1 Peter 2:9, are just a few verses that confirm your position. So, you can still love him, from a distance. Pray for him to be set free from the “hidden things of darkness,” while thanking the Lord for bringing you out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Pray to be filled with God’s light, as a way to be free of any “contamination” from your marriage to him. I believe that as you stay in the light, and away from the darkness, eventually your feelings toward your ex will fade and you will enjoy a new kind of freedom. Please don’t let yourself be drawn back to him. You don’t belong there.

  25. Anewanon on September 21, 2017 at 12:31 am

    > Christianity is not true because it conforms to metaphysical, scientific or historical reality but because it is life enhancing, it tells you how human nature functions, but I will not discover these truths unless I apply these things to my life and put them into practice. .<

    Aleea, I usually enjoy reading every morsel you write. However, on this note I have to stop and examine. I don't see Christianity as life enhancing, I see it as "after-life" enhancing. Touting Jesus as life-enhancing will likely yield false-conversions who then walk away if their lives haven't been satisfactorily enhanced. Am I making sense? Jesus doesn't promise an "enhanced life", only an eternal life.

    Perhaps you are meaning that our lives will be richer and we will enjoy deeper relationship with God. But even then, not always. Oftentimes it isn't enjoyable when our heavenly Father decides we need a good stretching of faith. He disciplines those he loves …?

    Phil 1:29 " For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake"

    Acts 9:16
    for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake."

    Knowing that I made the right choice, my relationship with my heavenly Father is better, yes, enhanced. But it wasn't without suffering for Christ's righteousness. Clinging to a cross when the winds of change were bearing down.

    I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength. Learning to cling to the old rugged cross now because one fine day that is all each of us will have left to hold onto.

    Not "enhanced". But "eternal". And "enough".

    Blessings

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