Morning friends,

Happy New Year.  Do you ever pick a special word or a phrase to guide you for the year? I’ve done it a few times and it’s been a good anchor to help me remember what I want my focus to be on. It’s easy to lose focus and get distracted. One of the things that I know for sure is that God tells us that we are forgetful creatures. He continually reminds us in the Scripture not to forget him or his benefits, or his blessings. We’re reminded not to forget who we are or what he has done for us. Why? Because we forget. We get lost in the mire of our own negative thinking or painful circumstances or busy life and we forget. Choosing a specific word or a phrase for 2018 might be a helpful discipline that can help you remember the main thing. This year, for 2018 my word is COURAGE.

I’ve just finished reading Brené Brown’s newest book Braving the Wilderness and it’s excellent. I deeply resonate with her findings. At times I have found myself out in the wilderness when talking about abuse among conservative church leaders, especially the more subtle forms of verbal or covert abuse. They often minimize the reality of its impact on a person’s mind, body and spirit and I want to see that changed.  

So pray for me in 2018 that I will continue to gain the courage to speak the message God has given me to speak. And as Ezekiel is so wisely reminded by God when he felt overwhelmed by the task, “Whether they listen or refuse to listen” I have done what I’m supposed to do (Ezekiel 2:5).

This week’s question: I have been out of a 15-year destructive marriage for more than 15-years, yet I find patterns from the past still greatly affecting my new marriage. My new husband and I dated for 10-years and last year got married. But I still see my new husband with the old lenses and have some of the same habits I had in my destructive marriage. For example, I fear my new husband’s anger or am always wondering when the ax is going to fall. I know he’s supposed to be allowed to get angry but I just crave peace and want things to go smoothly all the time. I know that’s not realistic yet I feel stuck. We both grew up in alcoholic homes and also have a hard time resolving conflict without causing each other pain. We probably both need some work but how do I change and learn how to deal with people differently?

Answer:  This is a great question because it shows that even after you leave a destructive marriage, you are safe, but you still may not be fully sane or healthy. Some of us have had hurts and dysfunctional patterns from childhood that continue to impact how we “see” things, how we deal with our emotions, or how we interact with other people in our present lives. Many of these are outside our conscious awareness and therefore impossible to change until we can see and acknowledge them. I’m so glad that you are becoming more aware that there are things you need to change inside of you in order to grow and get healthier. Hopefully, your new husband is seeing that he needs to make some changes also.

I totally get the fallout growing up in an alcoholic home since I grew up in one myself. When that happens, parents are not adequately attentive to the emotional needs of their children. Sometimes when the parent or parents are incapacitated by alcohol the child become the caretakers of their parents. You grow up having the body of an adult, but often the psyche and skill set of an adolescent or younger. You can feel competent and capable on many levels yet emotionally feel lost and little inside. A classic book that describes the effects on growing up in an alcoholic family is Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet Wiotitz and a subsequent book she wrote that can help you gain new tools for your relational toolbox is called, Lifeskills for Adult Children

Not only does growing up in an alcoholic family leaves some deficits but also the trauma of living with an abusive partner for 15-years also takes its toll on you physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and relationally. Studies have shown that those who experience domestic violence often experience complex traumatic stress disorder (CTSD) and that impacts how you feel, how you handle your emotions, as well as how you interpret what’s happening in the moment.  

For example, we have all seen the effects of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) on war veterans. They are often more hyper-vigilant. They are easily startled when they hear loud popping noises and may interpret those noises to mean gunshots, when in fact it might be firecrackers or even tires blowing out. Vets with PTSD need help in learning to calm down their autonomic nervous system so that they don’t “overreact” to normal stimuli as if they were in danger or high alert situations.  

In the same way, a woman who has been traumatized by living with an abusive partner may need help in learning to calm herself down when her new partner expresses anger because her body is reacting as if she is about to be victimized again. Another good book that talks about healing from trauma is The Body Keeps the Score by Bassel Von der Kolk.  

Your question was, “How do I learn to deal with things differently?” The good news is that it’s never too late to learn, to grow and to change. The very promise of God is that he is all about our transformation from who and where we are, to who he wants us to become. But it does require our cooperation. We are transformed by learning to see and think and respond God’s way. And we learn this by submitting ourselves to intentionally and consistently doing something differently through practice.  

This is true whether you are learning to play a new musical instrument, or ice skate for the first time. If you want to learn how to speak up for yourself or consistently have a new perspective on a situation, learning takes an intention and concentrated practice in order for it to become “real.”  That’s why so many Christians stay stuck. They read their Bible (God’s instruction manual for life), but they don’t actually practice what he says. In other words, you can listen about learning something or read about changing something, but unless you actually practice it over and over again, it doesn’t become a part of you.

A great example of this is when I took my daughter, Amanda, to piano. She was five years old and she started with the Suzuki method. This approach requires that the parent also “learn” piano so that the parent can reinforce what is learned during practice at home. Therefore, during Amanda’s lessons, I was supposed to pay attention meaning I was not to read or check my cell phone during her lessons.

Over the years of Amanda’s piano lessons I did learn more about music, notes, composition, theory and key signatures than I ever knew before, but after 15-years of piano lessons, my daughter was an accomplished pianist able to play complicated Bach and Chopin. On the other hand, I understood how someone was supposed to play those pieces but I never could actually play them. Why not? Because I never personally took what Amanda and I learned and put it into my own weekly practice playing the piano. We both learned the exact same thing, but she grew as a pianist and played beautifully. I understood the concepts but my fingers could not implement them.  

So don’t be too tough on yourself when your change doesn’t come as quickly as you want it to. It doesn’t take a whole lot of time to listen or to read how to do something. But it does take time to actually learn how to do it. And certain skills build upon each other. I’m sure my “cognitive” understanding of all things piano, would make it pretty easy for me to start practicing each day. I know how to read notes. I know where the notes are on the piano and I know how to put my right hand and left hand together to play. And, if I set my mind to practice piano each day, I have full confidence in my ability to grow as a pianist.  

I encourage you to get a counselor, coach or mentor, or even an accountability partner. Start learning what you need to learn and then practice what you are learning. For example, if you need to learn to see through new glasses, start by asking yourself what “color” are your current glasses. 

Nothing changes overnight but God promises that we are changed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Click To Tweet

For example, if you are wearing green colored glasses you will see things as green that perhaps are really blue, yellow, or even white. But once you understand that green glasses make you “think” things are green that really may not be, now you can press pause and check it out. Is this really true? Is it green or perhaps my glasses are distorting things? What else could this be if it’s not green?  

Let’s put this into practice. Your new husband starts getting angry. Your glasses say “Danger, he’s going to be abusive. Anger always ends in abuse and bad things happen when someone is angry with you.” What if you pressed pause and said, “Hmmm maybe that’s not true with this man. Maybe he’s legitimately angry and I’ve known him for 15-years now and he doesn’t abuse when he gets angry. Perhaps my alarm bells are going off because of my distorted glasses and not because of his anger. How can I calm myself down because it’s not true that anger always mean abuse isn’t far away.”  If you practice new thought patterns regularly, your body will start to calm down when your husband starts to feel or express his own anger. If you don’t practice it, but you just read it on this blog, it won’t help much. You must practice for this change to become real in your psyche and your body.  

There are many women in this blog community who are in their own process of healing and growing from past lies and unhealthy patterns. They are no longer stuck. I’m going to invite them to share some of what they have learned.

Friend, when you realized that even though you were now safe but you were still unhealthy, what steps did you take to change your old habits?

73 Comments

  1. GL on January 3, 2018 at 9:27 am

    I can relate to the fear. I’m on a renewal process with my H of 35 yrs. we’ve been making progress for the last 6 mo. But I’m still questioning his change. He does apologies more often. Another challenge is our grown kids are mad at him. He can’t figure it out. I don’t think I can explain it to him. They are afraid to tell him. Also trying not to be in middle. any suggestions?

    • Aly on January 3, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      GL,

      I’m not sure I have any suggestions other than can maybe have some places to relate as ‘ the daughter of two parents’ who lack emotional and spiritual maturity.
      This does not mean you do GL.
      Just trying to give some background.

      I don’t know much of your situation, but I can relate to being mad at my father but more from a place of I don’t trust him.
      Being mad is one thing, trust is another. You don’t mention why they are mad or don’t want to tell him?

      My father’s resistence to spiritual growth and his complacent attitude is one of the root reasons for his inability to do the right & necessary thing for repair. My mother for decades chose to support his unwillingness to grow and learn and has now adopted more of his mindset, sadly.

      I’m glad for you that you and your husband are on a new journey making progress, it’s really hard work.
      There is nothing wrong with questioning his change in my opinion, how he responds to that this is critical and will show you a lot. 6 months isn’t very long, I hope you have a lot of support too~
      I also went through some difficult times and still on a journey with my husband.

    • JoAnn on January 3, 2018 at 6:58 pm

      Perhaps family therapy, where you all get in the room with a therapist who can facilitate honest dialogue. It was so helpful to my husband and me when we had therapy with our son. the therapist was able to facilitate good, honest communication without anyone blowing up. So helpful.

    • Rebecca on January 16, 2018 at 10:38 am

      You can get a free Hoopla account through a library and listen to the book “Safe People” By Townsend and Cloud. Have your kids listen to it. It will give them some tools to help them identify what is safe and unsafe and may help them in all of their relational needs.

  2. Nancy on January 3, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    This is a great question, Leslie.

    When my h showed clear signs of repentance after 9 months of separation, I agreed to go into marriage counselling. We each spoke to the counsellor on the phone individually, to interview him, and so the counsellor knew of my EXTREME hesitation to trust again.

    The very first question, in our first session that he asked us both was, “do you want this marriage”. I’ll never forget this – this counsellor was not going to invest more in us than we would in ourselves, or our marriage. I answered yes, because I wanted it to be so, but in my heart I waffled A LOT over the first month or so.( In fact, I called my individual counsellor to get me through my ambivalence about marriage counselling).

    As far as ‘the steps to get healthy’: as this counsellor earned my trust, and my h continued working hard on his own issues, I began to then work on my issues in the counsellor’s office ( I was always working individually).

    It was VERY hard to trust in this process. What got me through was being in two different Bible Studies- STUDYING God’s word EXPECTING the Lord to speak to me about my situation. It got my eyes off of me, my h, our relationship ( when we weren’t in counselling) and focused on His character, and who He says that I am.

    I could not have submitted to marriage counselling without Bible Study. I could not have ‘gone under the knife’ with my husband, without KNOWING The Lord was with us. I kept records of signs and verses that He gave me.

    We are now almost one year into counselling and we ( neither of us) is recognizable. It was the best decision we ever made.

    I could name all the ways my h has changed, but this question is not about him:

    There was a massive root of enmeshment / co-dependence that got pulled out of my heart about a month and a half ago. It was a very painful experience. Through it, and now on the other side, I see that I never allowed my h to have separate feelings from me. Especially anger. Anger was off limits. All I can say is that the only healer, is the Lord. He is the only one who heals the trauma of the past. No amount of analyzing or different thinking will help. Submit to Him. In all things. In your choice of counsellor, in the timing of it, in the counsellor’s office.

    It is ONLY God who heals. Ask Him for this. He will lead you where you need to go.

    It’s amazing that the writer knows she has a distorted lense and that this issue is hers. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can heal yourself. The Lord asks us to participate in the healing process- to take steps of faith etc… But it is HIM who heals, and He does it in His time. Praise God ❤️

    • Aleea on January 4, 2018 at 5:34 am

      “All I can say is that the only healer, is the Lord.” ☑

      “He is the only one who heals the trauma of the past.” ☑

      “Submit to Him. In all things.” ☑

      “It is ONLY God who heals. Ask Him for this. He will lead you where you need to go.” ☑

      “The Lord asks us to participate in the healing process- to take steps of faith etc.” ☑ 💯 ☑ 😃😊

      :But it is HIM who heals, and He does it in His time. Praise God” ☑

      . . . .Nancy, I was listening to a doctor and researcher who said with disgust: “Please don’t go to a counselor who is going to pray with you! ―That shows a weak mind!” . . . .For me, the best/ most helpful part of counseling is praying together, especially when we are totally at an impasse. ―Lord help us because even with all our stinking Ph.D.s, we know so, so very little. ―Lord, we will not heal without your help!!! . . . .Just like the battle belongs to the Lord, the healing belongs to the Lord. . . . .But that doesn’t mean we don’t use ―the best, ―the very best from Neuroscience, ‎Relational Psychoanalysis, Psychiatry, Neuropsychoanalytic approachs. . . . .In our battles, use only what works and take it from anywhere you find it. . . . .Dr. Marie Hoffman, a dear Christian woman who loves Jesus Christ and is a clinical professor of psychology, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, she explains how people’s personalities (—psychological trait make-up) determines what they will and will not believe: re: Trauma and the Soul of American Evangelicalism (Integration Series) Nov. 22, 2016. YouTube: “Evangelicalism’s Buried Traumas.” —You can see clearly in her work how the psychology, especially the depth psychology (—the unconscious) literally creates the theology . . . .the things you believe. Many of these beliefs truly are defense mechanisms against a *real* experience of Christ in our hearts. Our relationships with Christ are actually profound and dynamic relationships with the psychological self too!

      I also like this that you said: “Submit to Him. In all things. In your choice of counselor, in the timing of it, in the counselor’s office.” ―In the counselor’s office!!! ―Absolutely Nancy. Instead of resisting the Lord (—like I often do and shamefully admit) when *I know* He is asking me to really scearch my heart and deeply consider something. At those moments, I always try to repent. —Lord, I repent of the chaos of not trusting You, and my attitude that Faith is not wanting to know what is really true, et. al. —Sometimes I even have to repent of my repentance.😊✝✞😊†❄☕❄ރ

    • Barbara B on January 4, 2018 at 11:49 am

      Nancy, your testimony is so encouraging; thank you for sharing. Your words remind me of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” Also Psalm 119:105, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.”
      I’m new to this blog so I don’t know if anyone has mentioned the worship music of Dennis Jernigan. His songs reflect this same understanding, that God alone is the healer and He will act on our behalf.

      • JoAnn on January 4, 2018 at 1:55 pm

        Welcome, Barbara! We are glad you have joined us. I hope that you will find the help you need here.

        • Babara B on January 7, 2018 at 7:15 pm

          Thanks, JoAnn. I’m actually not brand new. I’ve posted a few times but I’m having trouble making and remembering a consistent name. I know I’ve used Barbara and possibly also Barbara L. If I knew how to make a pretty icon like Nancy and some of the others, I would do that to avoid all the changes. My apologies to everyone about the confusion. I greatly enjoy and appreciate this group.

          • Barbara B on January 7, 2018 at 7:55 pm

            Good grief! Now I guess I’ve added a new name for myself, “Babara B”. Oops!



    • Rebecca on January 16, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Needed to hear that. I’m less than a week out from my separation. Thanks.

  3. Aleea on January 3, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    “So pray for me in 2018 that I will continue to gain the courage to speak the message God has given me to speak. And as Ezekiel is so wisely reminded by God when he felt overwhelmed by the task, “Whether they listen or refuse to listen” I have done what I’m supposed to do (Ezekiel 2:5).”

    —Absolutely, I always have and will continue to pray for you. One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being what you feel Christ would have you be. You know you can’t be brave if you only have wonderful things happen to you. Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is just going on, especially when you don’t have the strength. It takes a lot of courage to talk about your dreams and even more courage to feel fear and consistently take action in the face of fear. It takes strength and courage to admit the truth and it takes courage to be open to being seriously wrong. . . .We are going to pay a price for every thing we do and everything we don’t do. We don’t get to choose to not pay a price. Christ lets us choose which we are going to take. —That’s it. Staying silent is like a slow growing cancer to the soul.

    “That’s why so many Christians stay stuck. They read their Bible (God’s instruction manual for life), but they don’t actually practice what he says. In other words, you can listen about learning something or read about changing something, but unless you actually practice it over and over again, it doesn’t become a part of you.” . . . .Absolutely, that is so, so true and so important. . . .Christianity is a way of living and *acting* in the world. . . .And all I know is that I want to be emptied again and again and get all the junk out of my hands to be able to receive and serve Christ wholly and faithfully. Even though I am afraid of asking people to pray for me like this: I want God to totally break me so the Holy Spirit can be released and Christ can really live His life through me. —I want to be Galatians 2:20: . . .”I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. . .” Of course, it is hard because we all want to be transformed in great ways and small, the issue is what proceeds the transformation: being set on fire by God to have all the dead wood burnt off. ―But, I would also add that our behavioral patterns are exceedingly complex and nuanced, and even Biblical psychology is a very young science. The scope of our behavioral wisdom exceeds the breadth of our explicit interpretation. We act, even instruct, and yet *do not* understand. —How can we do what we cannot really explain?

    This is what I am aiming for: . . .I don’t want to be what I am. . . .I want to be what *continually changes* what I am (Romans 8:26-27; John 14:26; Acts 1:8; Romans 5:5; Acts 2:38) . . . .Because it seems to me that the things I most need are always to be found where I least want to look. . . .I ask always for prayer for transformative change by the awareness of Christ in our minds and hearts -or- just simply, we can live by dying everyday: 1 Timothy 4:12; Ephesians 4:1; 1 Corinthians 15:31, et.al. . . .Again, nothing to do with trying harder or even trying at all.

    As a Christian, I think our highest calling is obviously not our marriages but to follow Christ even though our marriages are a real part of that dying to self. ―Many prayers for everyone, ―always. . . .Aleea ―✞😊 💕↪

  4. Free on January 4, 2018 at 5:34 am

    A very important practice is to use all one’s senses and live in the moment. Ground one self to the here and now. The flashbacks yielded behaviors which were necessary for survival, without which you would be where you are today. Yet, if the current situation is no longer abusive, the survival mechanisms are no longer useful.

    Exercise such as retuning your senses to touch, taste, listen and feel you present circumstances and its environment are very beneficial. Touch something in the present, smell the frangence of the new environment and tell yourself this is 2018 not year or partner X.

    I found once removed from the abuser and their abuse the healing comes very quickly. Personally, I am not interested in a new relationship as I savor my freedom with gusto.

    • Aleea on January 4, 2018 at 5:58 am

      “Touch something in the present, . . . .tell yourself this is 2018 not year. . . .”☑―Absolutely Free, in my case, it is my mother, but it is the same presence metaphysics ―the power of now Right Here, Right Now with Christ ―Mindfulness in Him.

      “. . . savor my freedom with gusto.” ☑❣😊

  5. Nancy on January 4, 2018 at 8:44 am

    Hi Aleea,

    Ha! That Doctor is right….praying DOES show a weak mind! The difference between someone who Trusts in the Lord and who does not, is not that one is weak and one is strong. It is that the person of faith admits his / her weakness.

    And actually, thinking of my mind as ‘weak’ can be helpful. My mind is an abyss- I could get lost for days in there. It IS weak. But like at the end of Romans 7 after verses and verses of “I” ( Paul looking at only himself), the big RELIEF comes when He says thank God for Jesus.( verse 25)!

    So..( Romans 8:6) .such a precious verse!…my mind led by The Spirit, is Life and Peace ❤️

    Happy New Year, Aleea!

    • Aly on January 4, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      Nancy,

      I love this response;)
      It to me highlights~
      “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
      Matthew 5:3
      I believe the order of these beatitudes are important to our integrated beings.
      💜

      To be able to admit weakness, ‘ the surrender & dependency on Christ’ and or any wrong doing is key to growing and learning.
      Often on this blog, the majority of the destructive spouses or individuals clearly don’t have even the beginnings of this posture.

    • Aleea on January 4, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      Nancy,

      re: “. . . .And actually, thinking of my mind as ‘weak’ can be helpful. My mind is an abyss- I could get lost for days in there. It IS weak. . . . . …my mind led by The Spirit, is Life and Peace”☑

      Yeah, that is r-e-a-l-l-y good! ―I agree!!! You just own your weakness and let your strength be the Holy Spirit. ―Good stuff!!!

      Aly,

      re:“I believe the order of these beatitudes are important to our integrated beings. . . . . To be able to admit weakness, ‘ the surrender & dependency on Christ’ and or any wrong doing is key to growing and learning.”

      ―And that is r-e-a-l-l-y good, too!👏

      Proverbs 14:12: There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. . . . .the blinding effects of self-will and what we think we know is the best for us. I think we make order in our relationships by surrender and dependency on Christ, *continually* repenting of whatever are parts are in the chaos, articulating the truth at all times, et.al. . . . .otherwise we inhabit chaos. . . . .I see evil 👎☠☣☠ as believing we don’t have *massive* blind spots in our knowledge, our understandings and even our relationships with God. . . .👎☢☣Evil is the force that believes its knowledge is pretty much complete.

  6. Barbara B on January 4, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    I think that changing old habits is very difficult especially when those habits were necessary for survival. It’s a good idea to go slowly and not try to change everything at once. I find it helpful to think in terms of small steps instead of big leaps. For example, I think about taking one small step forward in trusting someone who has previously been untrustworthy. That person might currently be asking for more trust than I want to give at the time but I don’t necessarily want to completely distrust, either, especially if he has shown some change. Taking one small step forward seems like a good compromise because it slows the whole process down into manageable bits.

    • Aleea on January 4, 2018 at 4:47 pm

      “I think that changing old habits is very difficult especially when those habits were necessary for survival.”

      . . . .and maybe even more difficult if those habits come from childhood survival!!!

      I think you certainly identify the real issues: small sustainable steps vs. big leaps with recidivism.

      “Taking one small step forward seems like a good compromise because it slows the whole process down into manageable bits.” ―Absolutely!

      I would say it has the same difficulty level as burning new chemical pathways in our brains when the ones burned from childhood are deep. ―So, you have to guard your heart and guard it well.

      Maybe it’s like boundaries. . . .You own your boundaries, wherever you decide to set them. If you set limits with your husband and he responds maturely and lovingly, you can *maybe* renegotiate the boundaries! In addition, you can then totally change the boundary, if and only if, you are in a safer place.

      ―But you should do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do, all these situations are complex and highly nuanced. People are unbelievably complicated. That’s why I so pray for people because only the Lord knows what they should really be doing. Most psychological models of behavior I have seen, even those that are very sophisticated, are based on far too many simple assumptions. Assumptions that are highly dependent on each other and often subjectively determined. . . . .Anyways, we just really need to lean on the Lord or we will really mess things up.†ރ😊

  7. Laura on January 4, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Friend, when you realized that even though you were now safe but you were still unhealthy, what steps did you take to change your old habits?

    Today I am living a safer existence because I have done alot of work to change old habits by not jumping to false conclusions when evidence was real and void of my own deniaIs. I am attempting to avoid reading between the lines of the writer’s words but find myself feeling queasy and uneasy. I am maybe drawn falsely to sensing that full clarity of the situation isn’t clear in what was shared. It is sadly a commonplace tendency for people who have experienced and lived priorly within abuse relationships to re-enter into subsequent relationships that resemble the previous. With this awareness I am drawn to wonder not as judgment but with discernment is it just a bad habit of the writers’ or a flying red flag full of warnings. I am sadly drawn to conjecture that what the writer is sharing needs more examination instead of throwing a sense of caution to the wind and if I am wrong I extend my sincere apologies and ask forgiveness. I just know that personally I made light of many dark circumstances in my own life and hope that admitting my own mistakes can be of service to others. I was thrown off by the statement, “For example, I fear my new husband’s anger or am always wondering when the ax is going to fall,” because it just doesn’t seem innocuous to my thoughts in regard to this weeks question. I at first glance was immediately lead to wonder if some critical details were excluded in regard to the new marriage because in my own life situations of the past did haunt me when I neglected to immediately face them head-on. Surely I agree people do have a right to be express anger but having lived in an emotionally destructive relationship myself where living walking on eggshells seems very akin to, “always wondering when the ax is going to fall,” I am left wondering if a fully accurate discloser of the displays of anger were omitted or if I am so vigilant nowadays that I may be stuck in unhealthy habits; and also mistaking safe situations as unsafe myself. I, myself, admit I have avoided getting into allowing new relationships to develop any further in dating whenever I have experienced what is eerily reminiscently familiar from recollections of my past. And a great help for me is that I have kept up as a reader of Leslie’s site to be taught to be expectant of God’s desire and perfect will for me. And so with that said I pray it does the same for many others too!

    Throughout life God gives us all so much to deal with and so much is similar and disimmilar too. I unlike the writer did not grow up around alcoholism but did recognize it in a failed dating relationship and see how it may impact the writers life. I am now aware of the numerous factors associated with that disease and from my own unsuccessful dating connection and trials I see its’ direct connection to the demise of the relationship. But miraculously I found growth by seeing my own frailty in the human tendency to mask reality. In the end this all came about to produce blessings because ever since I have been regularly attending Al-Anon and Celebrate Recovery. I mention this as an example to show how vulnerable people are to sometimes disguising the present as something better than the past. I admit my own tendency of dismissing traits that required me to set clear and strong boundaries to safeguard my health. I needed growing closer to God to guide me. Proverbs 29:18,” Where there is no word from God, people are uncontrolled, but those who obey what they have been taught are happy.” Being without God I realize I had no strength. Until I faced subsequent challenges face to face with Him I was just staring right through them. Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and He will give you success.”

    And today, I plan on asking God for His will, praying He reminds me that I did seek Him on every step of my journey. Fortunately today I have been introduced to CTSD here and plan to look into learning more about that condition. I also share that I have read the book,“ The Body Keeps the Score by Bassel Von der Kolk,” and highly recommend it as Leslie does as a valuable learning tool for anyone who is dealing with unhealthy reactions to present situation if that is their case. In my own present situation where I am nearing 9 years from the start of ending my emotionally destructive marriage I realize the learning curve isn’t always easy to navigate. I have tried dating where I have given second and third chances to the other party where I thought I may have been imagining what I felt uneasy about.This I see now happened at first because I started to think I was making unfair and rash assessments due to past history. I now admit it was my will to find and live my own fairytale so much so that I would have entered a second unhealthy marriage because I had labeled many questionable things as ok due to my own confusion. Remember, 1 Corinthians 14:33a,” God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace…” in my circumstances I have learned denial is the devils workshop! And now looking back if only I realized the gut feelings were directly God stepping in to warn me I’d have been healthier much sooner. As a result of my mistaken pictures of many things I know I am lead by God to keep learning everyday. Some of the steps include reading many of the books Leslie mentions because it help me grow. I have also been strongly influenced and changed by the wisdom shared by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend in their writings that deal with setting boundaries in numerous life circumstances. I would highly recommend them to anyone who is feeling distress in regard to their relationships or relational abilities. I think self-examination is crucial to avoid false self-recrimination. Self-recrimination which often just isn’t the whole truth where and when accountability plus responsibility play roles.

    Though I feel now that I may have done a little rambling I feel a sense of relief too. May God keep you all and everyone you love blessed in this New Year.

    Isaiah 30:21, If you go the wrong way-to the right or to the left – you will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the right way. You should go this way.”

    • Aleea on January 5, 2018 at 8:30 am

      “Though I feel now that I may have done a little rambling. . . . .”

      Laura, ―that’s not rambling, that’s sharing a part of your story. . . . Silence is the most expensive thing ―ever. It just destroys people. None of us can afford not to speak our stories.

      “I think self-examination is crucial to avoid false self-recrimination”

      . . .I don’t even know what “false self-recrimination” is but we can’t live with the weight of repressed emotions or repressed anything. We have to have the ability to totally ramble and have childlike curiosity and deep questioning and optimism. . . . .I don’t know but I think we don’t even understand what our real needs are without the Lord regenerating our hearts daily and us daily seeking to align our hearts with God’s real love. . . . .So we search with so few finding the difference between truth (God’s real love) and lies (all of our false selves).

      Isaiah 30:21, If you go the wrong way-to the right or to the left – you will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the right way. You should go this way.” Absolutely. . . .There’s a voice in the wind that calls your name, if you listen, you’ll never be the same. (John 3:8)✝ރ 😊❣

    • Sarah on January 6, 2018 at 12:50 am

      Laura–

      I had some of the same thoughts. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Laura Di on January 6, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks Aleea, you are correct silence destroys people. The saying, about being sick as our secrets is so true.

    • Aly on January 6, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      Aleea, Laura Di,

      I’m really glad this came up.
      Aleea I agree with your comment on silence and where silence harms greatly.

      Has anyone heard of the book,
      ‘Zip it’? Or keep your mouth shut?

      I haven’t read either of them so this isn’t a comment but I have been recommending to read it a while back and it caused me to consider more about the person recommending it and what I witness from this person.
      I witnessed silence when wrong was obviously happening and I witnessed and received neglected when things became messy.

      • Aleea on January 7, 2018 at 6:53 am

        Hello Aly, Laura Di. . . .

        re: Zip It

        I have not read that book but I probably should. . . . .Just looking at the table of contents re: the commands of Scripture concerning the tongue. . . . .and knowing Karen Ehman is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker, I bet I know a few of the things she is going to say. . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . . .

        I think people here do an excellent job of minimal nasty words and comments, flying criticisms and awful accusations. But they often do use silence as a total weapon. When we give someone the cold shoulder, we may hold in our words, but we’re spewing out our feelings all the same. —And Karen knows that: Silence speaks as loud as war.

        I say: kind, thoughtful, caring dialogue is the *real* pathway to truth. Truth comes from non-destrutive dialogue. Humility is the recognition of my personal insufficiency and my willingness to learn through grace-filled dialog. To learn is to ἀποθνῄσκω [die voluntarily] and be born again, in great ways and in small.

        . . .speak/ live the Truth even if our voices and hands shake . . .Whenever Truth finds a nutshell —it cracks it completely open and totally disturbs the “tranquility.” —The Truth, as best we can articulate it, also always brings the best possible world and relationships into being. . . I say, and maybe I am wrong, but I say: tell the Truth even if it deconstructs and demythologizes God and Jesus themselves, —God forbid!!! —but it could. Re: Bible Truth Unfiltered = Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time (Dr. Borg) + The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined (Dr. Strauss) + Jesus in the No-Spin Zone (Dr. Price) + When Prophecy Failed: Cognitive Dissonance in the Prophetic Traditions of the Old Testament (Dr. Carroll) + The Bible: Now I Get It! (Dr. Lohfink) + The Other Side of Early Christianity (Dr. Lüdemann) et.al. + et.al. + et.al, thousands and thousands more. . . . .All are well worth reading for truth unfiltered. In the Middle Ages, all would have been burnt at the stake! All are well qualified and I think (―but can’t know) extremely fair in their treatment of early Christianity and seem not biased towards any particular group or individual —reconstruct the facts as best they can. ―They speak my brokenness, the logs in my own eyes, unfiltered.

        That’s how powerful just simply telling the truth is. —No abuse stands where the entire Truth is told. —And Truth needs no believers because it is the Truth. That’s how powerful just simply telling *all* of the truth (as best we know how, we self-correct as we go along through self-reflection) is. —Speaking the Truth, as best we know it, always puts our lives back in God’s hands, because we are not outcome engineering, peace faking, pretending. . . .It is an act of Faith. The Truth, as lived and spoken, produces the best possible outcomes long-term.

        . . . .I can’t or will not always do it but I sure see its power and effectiveness. . . . . Too many times, we feel we must try to bury or ignore negative emotions, jealousy, despair, contempt. They can become an essential part of our spiritual growth when we honestly face them and wrestle with the issues they expose.

        . . . . .It’s like everything . . . every last thing that irritates us about others can lead us to a far greater understanding of ourselves, —me too! What irritates me about whomever and whatever they say are simply the logs in my own eyes. That person becomes my teacher because they have focused me on working on my own logs.

        . . . .and the risk that might break me is the one that would save. . . .A life I don’t live is totally lost!!! —Or, the caves I fear to enter (speaking my brokenness/ exploring why something really irritates me) hold the treasues I seek. . . .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 (zero) believers. . . .

        . . . .I feel I need Christ . . . .Oh how I ever need Him and want Him. I can’t get across the street without Him. . . . .First Kings 18:46, John 10:28-29, et.al. He’s got His hand on my heart and I can’t walk away. . . .But if a good thing becomes the primary thing it immediately becomes an immoral thing. Love, sex, and marriage are prime candidates. . . . .Whether you are addicted to crack cocaine or addicted to the love of a fantasy man makes no difference. They both keep you enslaved to something that has replaced God. . . . .Yes, and I am even willing to ask *unfiltered*: Is Christ that fantasy man, even though He is God too??? . . . .and maybe that’s where Karen would say: Zip It. . . ツ✞ ⌘

      • Aleea on January 8, 2018 at 8:36 am

        Thank you so much for your comments Aly. Yesterday was so, so busy at church. It was one crisis after the next with my marriage re||engage classes. Our church has 13,000 people and people came back from the holidays just full to the brim with issues. I had no time to check anything. I love getting comments. I can’t self-correct anything without feedback.

        . . . .I can’t seem to get across to couples that we have to work on ourselves not each other. You can’t change your spouse but you can change you and believe me that will change them. They can’t interact with a you no longer there. I say forget changing the world and other people, changing ourselves changes everyone around us. . . . .And I know how hard that is to do because it is *my issue* too. Yesterday morning I was just saying to Jesus, “I am sorry. I was so wrong, and without Your help I cannot be different ―at all. ―Help me be different. I need Your Grace to be different. ―Help me, please.”

        Also, and I can’t get this across: reason is just powerless in the face of expressions of Love, ―like you and others here show me. Love takes down everything in its path: all logic, reasoning, et.al.

        “. . . .behavioral abuses.. silent treatment was his first tool, painful and immature developmentally to say the least, hard for him to break but with Christ anything is possible with willingness. 💜🌈🎉”

        So, so true. ―I know for me, many, many times it is only as hard as I am resistant to the Holy Spirit and I don’t know about you but I can have serious resistance at times. . . . .God is in the transformation business and that is where your REAL metanoia (μετάνοια) as the Bible says (a throwing off of every conceptual cloak of self-defense and a giving up of the resistance of ego, an ecstatic self-emptying, et.al.), takes place. . . .metanoia, a true change of heart after the transformational experience talked about all across the New Testament. . . .It is hard because it is a death ✞—rebirth sequence that is very painful.

        Everyone whats to be changed but no one wants to be set on fire and burst into flames and have the deadwood burnt off. What I am always *trying* to do is more fully indentify with the part of my personality that can change (the Holy Spirit), the part that is not static, not locked down by all my childhood fears. I am in need of constant revival. . . . For me, it is a healing journey as I work to overcome childhood abuse, religious abuse (the wrong type of peace keeping you are referring to). But I fight God at times too, so I have compassion on people who are resistant.

        Yes, Aly, I do see the silent treatment as weaponizing abuse.

        “Peace keepers have often been lead to believe that this is the way to loving another and living the gospel out.

        I believe that the truth does set us free and the Gospel ‘the good news’ is that message!
        The ‘enemy’ wants nothing to do with the Truth in the fullness of His love!”

        Absolutely, Aly . . . .yes and yes and yes! I think the reason it is so, so important to work inside (on ourselves) is that the moment you do that and see how incredibly hard it is to change even little things about yourself. . . . .Well, you can have so much more compassion on others and yourself too✞❣😊 💕✈✝

      • Aleea on January 11, 2018 at 1:06 pm

        Hello Aly,

        “I find it ironic and a bit of a dangerous culture message where many places ‘media too’ is about the January change!
        This marketing about changing our bodies, changing our health etc is perfectly culturally acceptable .. especially in the month of January but in the church culture and many church communities, often I see an ‘offense’ to change. Do others see this?”

        I think I know what you mean Aly. I am praying and fasting all year but in Jan-Feb-March my church has the “90-days-of-prayer” the “90-days-of-fasting” et.al.

        “I’m not convinced that everyone does want change in fact, I think more often people (not those being victimized) tend to not want things to change, especially those who are benefiting from whatever scenario. Do they lack ‘want to change’? The benefit list can run long but often I don’t believe people especially destructive/controlling people set out wanting to ‘change’ or be stretched and transformed~ Unhealthy Power has become their security blanket.”

        Hmm, maybe you are correct. The logic sounds correct.

        “I do think this is where Christ comes in and without our full understanding He changes our lenses, thoughts and hopefully responses. He keeps those unique undeveloped things He designed for His purposes and there are plenty good things/attributes in all of us to be uniquely kept because they are from the Lord. Any good you may see in me, isn’t anything of myself, but of only Him”

        I see lots and lots of good in you 🦄🎉🎊 and I know it is from the Lord. 💟❣💜 💫 🌟I understand. . . . .But I think Satan wants people to believe that —that it takes years and years to repent. It takes exactly as long to repent as it takes me to say, ‘Lord, I’ll change’—and really, seriously mean it. . . . I may well spend—indeed I had better spend—the rest of my life proving my repentance by its permanence. But change, growth, renewal, and repentance can come as instantaneously as for Alma and the sons of Mosiah (re:Unstuck: How the Savior Frees Us from Our Favorite Sins). My objections, whether they be theological or psychological, usually have one root: It is pride that makes me reject the message of repentance and making amends. Repentance is root of regeneration. Repentance leads to rebirth.

        Lord help me change and always humble myself before You. Lord, no other sin is so firmly ingrained in my heart as pride. Help me Lord. 💌 📥

      • Aleea on January 11, 2018 at 6:54 pm

        “Of course I want instant results at the gym from my workout but that doesn’t happen, the change happens a lot more slowly than I would prefer but the less I exercise, I will see a correlation to my results.” . . . .I don’t know but is that really fair to compare a physical process to a mostly cerebral process, especially where Christ is involved? Even you say: “Sometimes God does work instantaneously and miracles of His choosing for His will.” Isn’t it Christ changing us not ourselves? . . . .Isn’t change not something you do but He does? Isn’t change something we allow. He allow Christ to change us. It is only as difficult as we are resistant to the Holy Spirit?

        In 1 Corinthians αὐξάνων Θεός (God giving growth) . . .I don’t see how that squares with real metanoia (μετάνοια) as the Bible says (a throwing off of every conceptual cloak of self-defense and a giving up of the resistance of ego, an ecstatic self-emptying, et.al.), taking place. —Isn’t metanoia about people become Christians and being sanctified?

        “We can’t control the rate of growth anymore than we can make our children grow faster. But what we can do is nourish properly so that growth is more likely to occur.” . . . .I think I understand that. —I understand that in a physical process but isn’t this a spiritual process? Isn’t salvation instantaneous or is it a process too? —Maybe it is a process.

        “The Lord is. . . . not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to metanoia.” (2 Pet. 3:9) . . .All I know is that within early Christianity (and Judaism) of the same time period, μετάνοια is/means to have another mind, a new mind. . . .Metanoia is a Christ generated mind-change not just changing your mind about how you are behaving . . .not just regretting your sinful lifestyle and amending your life, it means (at the same time), changing your mind about the way of righteousness . . . .that righteousness does not come through the law but through faith in Christ and actually the faith of Christ. So it is a way of looking over our life and through the pain caused by past wrongdoing, ensuring transformation of our identity. Greek translations even use metanoia as do passages in the New Testament to refer to Hebrew Bible repentance texts. Metanoia is used everywhere around the turn of the Common Era. . . . “Repentance unto Life” = the apostolic doctrine of “Metanoia unto Life”.

        . . .You know what I just realized, maybe I don’t even have enough basic, clear information to be redeemed let alone sanctified. . . .Because metanoia keeps changing with time. At the time of the Latin Vulgate, Jerome who had access to manuscripts forever lost is translating “metanoia” as “poenitentiam agite” (do penance). . . .If God doesn’t save me, I am finished because it is not even clear what is going on, in salvation or sanctification. . . .Lord, just please change us, —especially totally confused me. Lord, I really don’t need to know how or what is first. —And I certainly don’t need to be “right” about anything. —I need You Lord. Lord change me and keep changing me.

        p.s. . . .it’s like this radical mindshift that change’s your mind’s mind —About what? About what we thought about God and the law and righteousness and forgiveness and just everything. It all changed with Christ. So we hear the gospel and we metanoia-radical mindshift . —I need You Lord. Lord change me and keep changing me and help me let people help me.

      • Aleea on January 12, 2018 at 6:56 am

        Re: “Justification, Salvation and Sanctification are all connected but different parts.”

        “I wish I had time to show you all the verses that make clear that our salvation is instant and permanent. It’s a done deal. Christ paid the price for us to be redeemed from the clutches of Satan, and now, no one can snatch us our of His hands.”

        “. . . .now, no one can snatch us our of His hands” . . . .But can we just walk out? I don’t think we can even walk out but I don’t know that. . . . JoAnn, Aly, Leslie, et.al. —like everyone here, I love you and deeply care about you (—you simply can’t help but love and deeply care about souls you are personally praying for each and every day), but (—I hate that word “but”) you all use lots of *heavily* freighted language (—I am sure from your perspective I do too). . . . .No one ever heard of this stuff of which you speak till the German Pietist movements in the 17th and 18th centuries. Just like when we talk about marriage, divorce and remarriage —no one close to Christ’s ministry in the earliest of churches talked like we do. Our post-modern talk takes centuries and centuries and centuries and centuries to come about —and mostly the 20th and 21st centuries.

        I have read that this ?Francis Schaeffer? used to say that the Christian need never fear following the evidence wherever it leads because she will never, in a striking phrase, “fall off the edge of the earth.” That is, she will never find her faith destroyed by the facts. —And yet, Schaeffer from what I have read always turned right around and gave a list of approved positions Christians may hold on everything: creation, evolution, salvation. He said the only ones allowed by the Bible. . . . ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .Wow!!! Are Jehovah’s Witnesses or Seventh Day Adventists “real” Christians? The words used in the New Testament, these are very, very ancient words with no real copyrights. You would not even believe the things the church fathers say about the things we talk about. . . .In my experience, fundamentalism destroys the humble honesty of the search for truth. How can there be any really sincere search, for example, on salvation, sanctification, the historical Jesus question 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?

        Christ functions, user defined, in an unnoticed and equivocal way, as shorthand for vast systems of beliefs and institutions on whose behalf He is invoked. Put simply, this means that when an evangelist or an apologist invites you to have faith “in Christ,” they are in fact smuggling in a huge number of serious issues. For example, Chalcedonian Christology, the doctrine of the Trinity, the Protestant idea of faith and grace, a particular theory of biblical inspiration and literalism (when they like literalism, metaphor when they do not), . . . .”You ask me how I know he lives?” asks the revival chorus. “He lives within my heart.” Exactly! What does that even really, (—I mean really) mean? Especially in view of the fact that the piety of “having a personal relationship with Christ” and “inviting him into your heart” is alien to the New Testament and is never intimated there as far as I can see, it is amazing to me that evangelicals elevate it to the shibboleth of salvation! Unless you have a personal relationship with Jesus, sister, one day you will be boiling in Hell. Sheesh! Talk about the fury of a personal savior scorned! —I just don’t understand that.

        . . . .For so long, I was stuck in “either or” thinking. Either I had to change myself, or change the world. Either it was his fault or my fault. Either you had to stop acting that way or I had to stop reacting this way. Either there was something wrong with me or something wrong with them. I would fluctuate between both ends of this dynamic. I’d blame myself for some time and do everything the Lord showed me to do to change. When that became tiresome, I’d blame others, doing everything I could to make them change. When the resentment and frustration became too strong, I’d blame myself again. I’ve learned that it’s never either or. It’s always both. Fault is only something we can ascribe when we see things very, very superficially. When we look deeper, we see multi-layered, complex systems of causes and effects which affect and are affected by all individuals involved. Responsibility, however, is the most helpful concept of them all especially in terms of justification, salvation, sanctification, . . . . .The truth is just staggering, colossal, almost unfathomable, so we cling to our bite-sized lies. We organize knowledge into bulleted lists while the wisdom of the present moment sits patiently at the doors of our perception. “The Lord is. . . . not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to metanoia (μετάνοια 2 Pet. 3:9, —plus 72 other times) . . . μετάνοια, another mind, a *daily* new mind, Christ generated mind-changes not just changing your mind about how you are behaving . . .not just regretting your sinful lifestyle and amending your life, it means (at the same time), changing your mind about the way of righteousness . . . He transforms our identity, in such radical mindshifts that they change our mind’s mind —That, to me, happens all through the Christ experience. It is so staggering, colossal, unfathomable —I certainly can’t explain it. . . . .But you have felt/ and keep feeling it and been loved away (—blown away!) by it haven’t you?

      • Nancy on January 12, 2018 at 9:08 am

        Hi Aleea,

        When JoAnn suggested to you Watchman Nee’s, The Normal Christian Life, I saw that post and asked for it, for Christmas.

        I spent Christmas time studying it. What a BLESSING.

        May I suggest that you get it, get your Bible, and put all other reading aside for a time, in order to study it?

        It points us to the foundational truths of Christianity that everything else is built upon. Step by step, it makes these truths crystal clear.

        It is a very deep book; one well worth the time and energy to be poured over ❤️

      • Aleea on January 12, 2018 at 12:41 pm

        “I’m sorry, but that is just not true.” . . . .you know how when you where little and in some squabble or other with one of your siblings . . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .after awhile, you realize you just need the actual documents. You need to go consult *primary source* evidence. Not what others are saying about those sources. Martin Luther’s program of the grammatico-historical interpretation of Scripture, it even recognized the futility of any appeal to Messianic proof texts in the Hebrew Scriptures!

        . . . .so in that spirit, maybe we should all report to the Monastery of St. Catherine, 🐫 Sinai Desert 🐫. The world’s oldest continuously operating library of ancient manuscripts. We need about a month there. . . .From there, the Benedictine abbey above the town of Melk, in Lower Austria —maybe two months there. That abbey was founded in 1089 and that monastery’s scriptorium was the major site for the production of Bible manuscripts all across Europe (—something I am always interested in!) Countless manuscripts. From there the furthest outpost under the Roman Empire —at that time —today Lyon, France . . .and finally the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Ireland. . . . .Because we need to look at Papyrus 45, it is the earliest (AD 275) and best New Testament manuscript. You will see it is heavily damaged and fragmented. . . . .But no one gets behind that manuscript (—that is where the trail ends) because we don’t have earlier anything other than just very small fragments. . . . . Lots of text deconstruction and unbelievable levels of hermeneutical foot work 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. . . .But it could be that none of that is important for reasons I just don’t understand . . . .but I feel that if we looked at actual primary source evidence, not what other people are saying about these primary sources, all of us would never be the same.

        “These are the end times….and I know that many over the centuries have believed that, too. But when you consider how the Lord has opened the word to us in these days, in such a complete way, and the world situation, I really do believe that. . . .”

        . . . .We want to *always* be ready for His return. Lord, please —just return. We need You. Everyone needs You to return.🎉 🎊 🎼 🎉🎈 . . .To me, it is clear that the writers of the New Testament consistently set a first-century deadline for the return of Jesus, and yet the stubborn fact that the Second Coming obviously did not occur has not deterred Christians from predicting the event again, and again, and again, and again, and again throughout the centuries up to the present day. The continued insistence on the Lord coming back in ever person’s generation for two thousand years only invites the suspicion that God’s spiritual wisdom is not enough for some, it has gone off track and degenerated, like some modern New Age movement, with its channelers into hankering after signs and wonders. Let us learn instead from the Old Testament prophets that all else is a snare and a delusion save for doing justly and walking humbly with a clear conscience. I just don’t know. . . .I hope the Lord comes back very soon. 🔜 🔃

        . . .Nancy, I do have Watchman Nee’s, The Normal Christian Life, and I am reading it. . . . .But I admit I could be reading it much faster re:“May I suggest that you get it, get your Bible, and put all other reading aside for a time, in order to study it?” —καλώς!!! —alright, I will speed it up but I can’t put *all* other reading aside.

        Lord, I consecrate myself to do Your will where I am, be it on a plane, at some satellite office, or the kitchen, or wherever You may, in Your wisdom, send me. The Lord knows I am willing to break my heart that I might satisfy His heart. —He knows that.ツ✞💒✝✈↪✝❤😊⌘

      • Aleea on January 12, 2018 at 5:20 pm

        JoAnn,

        Absolutely those clarify things. . . . .Ephesians 1:4 & 1 Peter 1:16 speak to predestination and this being God’s holy work.

        God loved us. 🔑💯☑

        God selects us —and selects us to become holy. 🔑💯☑

        His divine love inspires us to love Him in return. 🔑💯☑ Absolutely! —I love You because You first loved me!

        We are saturated with God to be holy and without blemish as He is. 🔑💯☑

        “. . . .But then your [husband] may say something to offend you and you lose your temper.” —My marriage is g-r-e-a-t.🎁 🎊 🎉 It is such a gift from God!!! 🎁 🎊 🎉

        —But 🐲💀☠ Hellfire & Brimstone 🐲💀☠ can my mother ever trigger me beyond the pale. If my 🚧☢☣ mother 🚧☢☣ talks to me (—I limit that interaction) I have to go back to my room when I am at home or my hotel room if I am traveling for the entire day!!!

        I love that soaking concept. 🔑💯☑

        It’s like the Soaking Worship || Spontaneous Soaking Music I take with me on work trips from Bethel Music. 🔑💯☑

        When we are in touch with God, we are holy. But when we are away from God, we are not holy. [And it is His love that draws us to stay in fellowship with Him.] 🔑💯☑

        Resolve to spend most of your time in thanksgiving and praising God. 🔑💯☑

        Thanksgiving stirs up thankfulness in our hearts. 🔑💯☑

        . . . .it’s like, . . . .when we lift our hands in praise and worship, we break spiritual jars of perfume over Jesus. The fragrance of our praise fills the whole earth and touches the heart of God. I also so, 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.🌷🌹🌺

      • Aleea on January 13, 2018 at 4:53 am

        . . . .What if our loneliness is the result not simply of needing a partner but of needing people? We are made in the image of a relational God . . . .so it makes sense that we possess the desire to be together. In the house of God there are many, many mansions. —There is a place for everyone —a unique, special place. Once we deeply trust that we ourselves are precious in God’s eyes (—Always so, so hard after abuse), we are able to recognize the preciousness of others and their unique places in God’s heart💗. —And maybe just as Christians should not be constantly feeling the pulse of their spiritual life, so too the Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be continually taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more assuredly and consistently will our communities increase and grow from day to day as God pleases. —And so we, together are trying to fulfill this Great Commission that Jesus left us with. As we press into each other, we form one united thing, His church. As we work together, sharing the space God gives us to do His work, we all become shaped a little different. We all become a little more like Him! Woo Hoo!!! I used to think that righteous people were the types that liked rules, —the party line . . . .really, righteous people love things like people, relationship, happiness, connection, holistic prosperity, and community. . . .

        . . . .But I am glad Nancy pressed me on The Normal Christian Life —Watchman Nee because my mind went into gear after it was triggered by the comments re: The Second Coming of Christ— 💗😊 —WOO HOO!!!😊 —I started thinking. . . .What did Jesus mean when He said, ““Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. . . . I tell you the truth, this (generation γενεὰ) will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place.” . . .I was going to go back and read the work of Reimarus, Johannes Weiss, et.al. on how the synoptic gospels represent Jesus as foretelling catastrophes as imminent in his own time, not as shortly to occur in ours re:γενεὰ . . . . Although this is characteristic of the first three (the synoptic) gospels, you see so very little material of this kind remaining in John, which really presents a very different Jesus . . .and in the synoptic preaching look at the inclusion of even unethical and unrealistic maxims: do not resist evil; be perfectly confident that God will always supply food, clothing, and whatever you ask in prayer; and hate (not love less! —see The Pre-Nicene New Testament) your mother (—I could easily get that done —Lord change me!!!), your father, your husband (—many posting here could *easily* get that done), wife, and children in order to be Jesus’ disciple. . . . .But because I know Nancy will hold me accountable and I kind of trust her as to what is best for me, I will not. . . . .But remember, any theories on the 2nd coming of Christ have pass lots and lots of tests to pass if you want the truth. You can’t just cherry pick correlations that match theories —You also have to get your words, numbers, timelines correct (—this is so, so hard because of textual variants/ interpolations/ redactions/ textual alterations/ textual additions/ textual contradictions, et.al.), lest you stumble on false premises re:causal assumptions refuted by countless contrary other cases, passages. . . .

        . . .Alright, I choose to get the rest of this *read* this weekend. . . .re: The Normal Christian Life das Watchman Nee . . . .so I can report my progress to Nancy if she holds me accountable —and she generally does. . . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .actually I love being held accountable😊. . . .It makes me feel loved for some reason I don’t even understand. . . .
        Chapter 1: The Blood of Christ✓✔

        Chapter 2: The Cross of Christ✓✔
        Chapter 3: The Path of Progress: Knowing✓✔
        Chapter 4: The Path of Progress: Reckoning✓✔
        Chapter 5: The Divide of the Cross
        Chapter 6: The Path of Progress: Presenting Ourselves to God
        Chapter 7: The Eternal Purpose
        Chapter 8: The Holy Spirit
        Chapter 9: The Meaning and Value of Romans Seven
        Chapter 10: The Path of Progress: Walking in the Spirit
        Chapter 11: One Body in Christ
        Chapter 12: The Cross and the Soul Life
        Chapter 13: The Path of Progress: Bearing the Cross
        Chapter 14: The Goal of the Gospel

        . . . . .Then: ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ ἡ (γενεὰ) αὕτη ἕως ἂν πάντα γένηται!— 💗↪✈❄

      • Nancy on January 13, 2018 at 1:34 pm

        Hi Aleea!

        I hope it’s ok to point this out, here. You made an interesting observation about yourself in the above post. You said that when you were triggered, you were tempted to read the work of two authors. But that you resisted that temptation in favour of reading Nee.

        Aleea, maybe this point of temptation – when you are triggered, and then what you put in your mind as a result – may be a place to pray about?

        May the foundational truths of Romans 3, 5,6,7 and 8 be revealed to you in an entirely new and life-changing way, as you continue to read!

      • Aleea on January 13, 2018 at 4:18 pm

        Hello Nancy,

        “. . . .I hope it’s ok to point this out, here. . . . .” —Oh Nancy, it’s a-l-w-a-y-s okay. —You know that. I know you care and I know you are trying to help me, —not hurt me. . . . . .ιαβοη θήσου μετους ανθ ρώπους απλάληθινά τους αγαπάτε βαθιά συνέχεια οηθούν εαυτό τους . . . .To help people, just deeply, *truly* love them. —Then, they help themselves❣😊💕✝

        “. . .You made an interesting observation about yourself in the above post. You said that when you were triggered, you were tempted to read the work of two authors.” —You mean Reimarus, Johannes Weiss, et.al. . . . . .They knew uncertainty hugs our every decision like the stratosphere hugs the Earth. It is as crucial a part of human existence as oxygen. . . .

        “. . . .Aleea, maybe this point of temptation – when you are triggered, and then what you put in your mind as a result – may be a place to pray about?” —Absolutely, Lord please help me put good, good things in my mind a-l-w-a-y-s!

        “May the foundational truths of Romans 3, 5,6,7 and 8 be revealed to you in an entirely new and life-changing way, as you continue to read!” —Absolutely!!!☑✓✔

        . . .Nancy, I’ve found nothing in this world that is so sweet, as Christ’s presence in a life laid at His feet. My delight is His faithfulness and truth . . . .My desire Lord, is to quench my thirst in You. ↪✈❄📡 🔋

      • Aleea on January 16, 2018 at 8:27 pm

        Hello JoAnn!

        I apologize. That is the translation right directly after it. [. . .To help people, just deeply, *truly* love them. —Then, they help themselves.] I always have and will put the translation right afterward. Almost always it is a New Testment Bible verse or word (where I am trying to be very precise). . . . “The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to metanoia (μετάνοια 2 Pet. 3:9, —plus 72 other times in the N.T.) . . . .but sometimes I get wild and write some of my own sayings. . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . . .I wrote that because I so need to model and live that more in my life: [. . .To help people, just deeply, *truly* love them. —Then, they help themselves.] —I was reminding myself!

        . . . .But, again, I apologize because I love people here and I want everyone to be able to participate. I need them too and they can’t help me if they don’t understand what I am saying.

        Thank you for saying that. I love correction, —again, it feels like love and I don’t even know why. . . . .Oh, I finished “The Normal Christian Life” and I am half-way through another book I was given at Christmas: “Classic Christianity: Life’s Too Short to Miss the Real Thing”. . . .Great illustractions in there: When John F Kennedy was in the White House his son John Jr would run and find his dad in the morning to give him a hug and the whole world would stop as the most powerful man on the planet had some snuggles with his child. What do we mean when we say God is our Father, what does that look like, what does that feel like, do we really believe it? That one little example pulled in so many lovely concepts and ideas and makes them so real to me. . . .Father God, Childlike faith, nothing can separate me from the love of God. It goes through everything: Doesn’t God expect me to clean up my act before I approach Him? I know God loves me―but does He accept me? Who are we really in Christ, what is our new identity. I always need to be reminded of that!!! What does this means in our everyday life. How can we really live an abundant, fruitful life in Christ. et.al.

        I’m no special person. I have nothing to offer Jesus but when I pray I feel He treats me like I’m the only one with whom He is dealing. . . . .Closer than any family and with me everywhere.
        ❣✝☑↪✈🙋😊 📓†ރ📤 📡 μετά☄νοια📶📥†ރ😊. . . . 🌠❣

    • Aleea on January 7, 2018 at 7:06 am

      Thank you Laura Di. . .speak/ live the Truth even if our voices and hands shake.†ރ😊🐠💐👌—The Truth, as best we can articulate it brings the best possible world and relationships into being. . .That’s why Jesus is the logos.

  9. Aly on January 7, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Aleea,

    I’m not familiar at all with the author. But I’ll do more follow up.
    I just find it an interesting title especially when it gets recommended from certain types of…. an ‘injured person such as a peace-keeper’…
    Peace keepers have often been lead to believe that this is the way to loving another and living the gospel out.

    I believe that the truth does set us free and the Gospel ‘the good news’ is that message!
    The ‘enemy’ wants nothing to do with the Truth in the fullness of His love!

    Silencing the truth of freedom is dangerous and destructive as you have pointed out, so I think many of our past and present generations have been easily coerced to think that keeping ones mouth shut about ‘even the things of the Gospel’ are somehow Godly.??~ How convenient and extreme!

    This is not true, this is all about comfort and temporary safety but it comes at a high price for the building of the kingdom.

    I know God is sovereign and covers it all, but with that understanding it calls me to face all the more what I am accountable for as an ambassador given the biblical timetable.

    You wrote:
    “But they often do use silence as a total weapon. When we give someone the cold shoulder, we may hold in our words, but we’re spewing out our feelings all the same.”

    How creative, hurtful to both and many individuals…true Aleea.

    When my husband was full into his behavioral abuses.. silent treatment was his first tool, painful and immature developmentally to say the least, hard for him to break but with Christ anything is possible with willingness. 💜🌈🎉

  10. Tracey on January 7, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    I often wonder what is a normal angry response from a spouse? What does anger look like in a healthy family environment? I’m a very easy going person and I don’t get angry much if at all.

    My (non-Christian) husband has terrible anger issues. He reacts angrily over everything it seems. Most recently, my son left the towel crammed the shower rod, or the teens rooms are a mess, you name it and he’s angry about it.

    I’m always on edge waiting for the next “ax to fall”. What’s it going to be this time? I never know, because it’s always something new. My counselor calls it a grain of rice. The house and kids could be in a state of perfection, but my husband will notice the one grain of rice that I missed and get angry about it. And there will *always* be the next grain of rice. We’re constantly “disrespecting” him because of how messy we are, or we’re called “disgusting”, etc. (but we’re not actually that messy! My oldest daughter once said to me “mom, this mess is considered extremely clean in all of my friends houses, this is not normal”). I see it now, and recognize how I’ve enabled his behavior for 30 years, by trying harder and harder to make everything just so. No more! I told him I won’t do it anymore. I’m not going to live like this, in an angry home environment any longer. The anger, the control, the verbal abuse. I’m done. I think he see’s that I’m close to walking away. So he says he’s going to change. He appears to be trying. Won’t see a counselor though. But I’m not sure if I’m being blind, letting his kindness pull the wool over my eyes yet again.

    Which leads me back to my original question and relates to this weeks question… what does normal healthy anger look like? Is my overly angry husband allowed to get mad? I think I’m highly sensitive to it, and don’t want to be around it ever. It stresses me
    out and I just can’t handle my husbands anger. I know I’m being unrealistic by saying that. I just don’t know what normal anger is anymore.

  11. Chuck on January 8, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Hi, I am currently separated from my wife due to verbal abuse and indifference in our relationship. I have done what my wife and church have asked me to do as far as taking my meds for bipolar, going to counseling etc. (I am doing it for me because I realize I need to change whether or not my marriage survives). One of the issues I am continuing to deal with us my wife’s anger and talking down to me as she has done for many years. My children have said for years ” why do you let her do it to you, I would leave and find someone else nicer to you. ” Since I have been separated, I have lost weight and have felt good about myself for the first time in 2decades of being married to her, I like myself, see God working in me and this has been noticed by my children, pastor, co-workers and friends ( I am still a work in progress). At what point do I hold my wife accountable for the negativity that SHE brings into my life? Since I have have left I can say with certainty that I have overall been kind and considerate to her. Thanks for your input. ( I am not negating my sin and what I caused in the msrriage)

    • Nancy on January 8, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      Hi Chuck,

      This is a great question. None of us should allow ourselves to be ‘talked down to’. I would suggest that you think of a one-line statement that guards your heart against this type of treatment. Maybe something like, ” I want to hear what you are telling me but the way that you are talking to me is making me feel small.”. And if she continues, ” when you can speak to me in a cordial way, I’ll be happy to listen. Until then, I’ll have to go.”

      If this is long term thing, it might take a lot of repetition. That’s why I suggested a one-liner that you feel comfortable using.

      Setting boundaries around our heart is important for everyone. Just remember you are doing it to guard your heart, not to change her.

      • Renee on January 8, 2018 at 3:15 pm

        I want to hear what you are telling me but the way that you are talking to me is making me feel small.

        That response is good Nancy. However, I would not dare use that word small. A person can take that word small and use it against you.

        So I would probably change small to discomfort or as you say to Chuck’s preference. [I want to hear what you are telling me but the way that you are talking to me is making me feel discomfort.

        • Nancy on January 9, 2018 at 1:58 am

          Hi Renee,

          For sure we each have words that will trigger us. That’s why I suggested to Chuck, a one-liner that he is comfortable with. He likely knows what words would be safe for both he and his wife. As you point out it’s really important to use neutral words, to minimize the chance of escalation.

          Chuck, the book ‘boundaries’ by cloud and Townsend that JoAnn suggested is very Comprehensive. I too, highly, highly recommend it!

    • JoAnn on January 8, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Chuck, I am so happy to hear about the good progress you have made. Good for you! The only way that you can deal with your wife’s negativity is to set boundaries around her speaking. Read the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, and Leslie’s book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. She addresses boundaries in her book, and C&T say a whole lot more about it. The point is, you don’t have to receive any of her negativity. Stop it the second she starts in. “I’ll gladly listen to what you have to say when you can say it in an adult and rational way.” Or something like that. You also need to strictly limit your exchanges with her. There may be only one or two topics that you will talk with her about, and nothing else, and then only by email or text. Limits, boundaries, so very necessary in dealing with abuse. And whatever negativity does leak through, you need to practice brushing it off. It is totally about her and not about you; it doesn’t belong to you, so let it go. The Lord will empower you to do this.

  12. Renee on January 8, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Chuck, re-read this part you wrote: [One of the issues I am continuing to deal with us my wife’s anger and talking down to me as she has done for many years] That is not good for you two. It has to stop.

    Does your wife have a counselor? Have you two started couples counseling? When you notice her behavior has not changed, when is this noticed? When you are exchanging the kids? Having coffee? What?

    Liliah asked you Chuck on November 27, 2017 to give an example of your wife’s disrespectful behavior. I didn’t see a response.

    2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

    • Chuck on January 8, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Renee, an example that often occurs is that she will ask me to do something and proceed to tell me exactly what she wants me to do and not always in the nicest tones, I can be forgetful at times but I can figure things out myself and call her if I cant. Also the other night there was miscommunication and she got angry at me for not accomplishing what she asked me to do. Now, I do need to be better organized, I am making that one of my goals for 2018, but it wasn’t done because U was lazy, angry or inconsiderate. We are not going to couples counseling, she doesn’t want to at this point. She does go herself she has shared that with me.
      We did meet to have coffee a week ago and talked for 2 hours about the children and touched on our differences.
      I understand that my timetable maybe different from hers
      But at some point we need to start working on our issues,
      as a couple.

      • JoAnn on January 8, 2018 at 5:37 pm

        Chuck, If I were you, based on so many comments from others here, I would wait for couples counseling until you actually see some changes in attitude on her part. When she can begin to admit to her part in the dance, then you are on your way, but as long as she doesn’t see her contributions to the problem, couples counseling probably won’t do much. You are admitting to your faults and failures, but at the same time, I would ask her for some tolerance and patience. There are at least several ways to do most things, and for her to always insist that you do everything her way is too much. As long as you don’t cause damage, she doesn’t really have any right to ask you to do something and then dictate how to do it. The end result should be the goal. This is a control issue, and she needs to learn to loosen up. This can be a boundary: When she asks (tells) you to do something, you can say that you will do it and when, but you will do it your way, and if she is not happy with that, she can do it herself or hire someone. That can be a very effective boundary in situations like this.

      • Aleea on January 8, 2018 at 6:27 pm

        “. . .I am continuing to deal with us my wife’s anger and talking down to me as she has done for many years.”

        “At what point do I hold my wife accountable for the negativity that SHE brings into my life?”

        Chuck, but only if you feel comfortable saying, ―when you pray and seek God about these matters, what does the Holy Spirit show you/tell you that you should be doing? ―Is God speaking to you in these matters and if so what is He saying to do? ―Or what do you feel He is saying? ―Do you think she (or you) have thrown you (or her) out of your hearts and there is no appeal? . . . .Also, whatever medications you are taking for your conditions do you feel they are working well ―consistently?

        I’m praying for you, her and your family. All we can do is keep seeking God in Christ and taking the actions the Holy Spirit directs us to. God loves you, you have the greatest value. He gave His life for all your worth! —Again, I’m praying for you and your wife, children and marriage.

  13. Renee on January 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    I’ll share my update as well with the limited contact. Last month proved many of the same thought patterns. Forward to this month – same thought patterns.

    Husband sent me a text behind a letter where I communicated with him. “You’ve gone astray” he says. “You put others ahead of me and kids,” he says. But no examples so I take it as him deflecting from what I’ve asked of him.

    This has to be dealt with or I will be in for more headaches and heartache and so will he.

    He also said, “You expect me not to be jealous when you hear pastors saying God is a jealous God.” Well that last one provided for great Bible study. I shared this page and shared here.
    https://www.allaboutgod.com/a-jealous-god.htm

    2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

    Old things have not started to pass away in this marriage.

    • Chuck on January 8, 2018 at 6:47 pm

      Renee as a guy who has done that to my wife, calling out her perceived sins that does have to be dealt with. Definitely throw in the childrin, that usually gets the mom
      Guilt meter going. If he thinks you are ” going astray” then use some I statements and be ready like you say, give me two recent examples specifically related to this charge, but he can’t do it.
      Comparing himself to God is a crock, God is also a loving, kind and slow to anger God too. Does he have a christian
      Friend who can speak some truth in his life? If not pray that God will do that.

      • JoAnn on January 9, 2018 at 11:12 am

        Chuck, I commend you for your honesty in admitting your part in the demise of your marriage. True repentance accompanied by apologies and requests for forgiveness will help your children get through this difficult time. It could be very helpful to get a few sessions with a family therapist with your children, to give them a chance to process what is happening. Confessing your part in the “dance” to them and listening to their reactions and observations will help all of you to heal. You haven’t told us how many children there are or their ages, but even really young kids are very insightful and have their own take on what’s happening. Right now, what they need is truth and honesty from you, not excuses or defensiveness. Pray for them and get them help to navigate what is happening in their lives.

        • Chuck on January 9, 2018 at 9:43 pm

          I have adult child, 2 teenage daughters and 1 son 13 teen. All have or are struggling in their lives. I would like to do what I can to heal their lives with or without my wifes help

  14. Chuck on January 8, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Thanks everyone for your wisdom.Alexa I haven’t really considered what role the Holy Spirit might be asking me to do. Thank you for that insight. JoAnn you are probably right that these issues will have to wait till couples counseling. They may deal with respect issues and definitely with some hurt I have brought to her over the years. I will have to set some boundaries though for my own healing

    • Aleea on January 9, 2018 at 5:26 am

      re: internal vs. external boundaries/ hearing from God

      Chuck, I think (—but certainty I do not know) . . .but I think the biggest downfall is internal boundaries (—inside of us) . . .actually having boundaries with ourselves. . . .The issues (—whatever form it takes) might never be happening *externally* if they were not happening *internally* first (—within ourselves). For example, I need to be able to set better limits with myself and say “NO” more often to myself. —In areas where I can do that, those boundaries easily cycle to all my outside relationships because it has become a part of who I am. . . .It’s like so many others things, you solve it internally, it is mostly solved. We always want to work externally but without internal boundaries (—limits I put on my own internal dance) the externals just shift to new objects (—new whatevers) . . . .and they very often fail and maybe they fail because we talk about external boundaries but without internal boundaries (—inside of us), . . . .without that, I think the dance only changes styles. —You climb out of one box only to be inside a new box very similar to the old box. . . .As a women told me yesterday: My 1st husband used to hit me with a red frying pan, my current husband hits me with a blue spoon. . . .I think her metaphor shows were most of the work usually needs to take place —internally. We first need boundaries internally with ourselves. Solve it there and it probably cycles to all your relationships. . . .And Chuck, we can have compassion on people, . . .can you imagine how much your wife is beating herself up (internally) if that is cyclying outside of her on to you (externally)? . . . .People are so complex and nauanced and psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience such new fields. . . .I would also really seek to hear from God as clearly as possible about what you should be doing. . . .We have to have enough meaning to make all the suffering worth it. That is where God comes in, as near as I can tell. He is the ultimate in meaning and understanding of how we should proceed.

  15. Amy on January 9, 2018 at 10:27 am

    I’ve been remarried for over 6 years after living in an abusive marriage for 20 years.

    The first year of my new marriage proved to be very eye opening for me, and very healing too. I found myself still exhibiting some of the same old responses I’d had in my first marriage.
    For example, in my first marriage my ex was always angry over something so you didn’t dare break anything, drop something, or accidentally create a mess, or else he would let you know how stupid you were or careless, etc, etc. So there was always this underlying tension I carried with me day to day.
    Fast forward to my current marriage — I remember an evening where I dropped a bottle of wine we had just bought, and it shattered! I stood there horrified and suddenly feeling my heart race, and began apologizing all over myself for what was obviously just an accident. I stood frozen waiting for it, waiting for the response I had been used to for over 20 years of my life. My husband was of course stunned when it happened and I could tell he was disappointed and upset, and yes even a little angry, BUT he did not ACT in anger. He did not call me stupid or give me a hateful look and the silent treatment for the rest of the night, he simply said, “It’s okay, it was an accident.” And we cleaned it up together.

    And that was the beginning of my healing. I learned with each incident that happened in our marriage from that night forward, good or bad, I was living with a man who was NOT my ex and did not respond and act like my ex. And I learned to change my responses over time. I learned that I didn’t have to be continuously on guard waiting for the other shoe to drop or the ax to fall and that helped me learn to start looking at myself differently. I stopped seeing myself as incompetent or indecisive or all those other things I’d been told about myself over the years with my ex and I started feeling more confident and capable of making decisions and doing certain tasks like paying bills and balancing the checkbook all of which my ex had drilled into me I was too stupid to do right and I was never any good with money.

    Today I’m a completely different person than I was in ’09 when my ex first walked out on me, and even since marrying my current husband over 6 years ago. I’ve grown and healed in ways I never thought possible but that doesn’t mean that every once in a while I start to feel one of those old familiar responses rising to the top. And when that happens, I remind myself that I’m not married to the same man from 20 years ago.

    • JoAnn on January 9, 2018 at 11:06 am

      Amy, thanks for writing! I am so happy for you, that you found a good man who is helping you to heal. That is the blessing of a healthy marriage. And it’s also why, when remarrying after a bad marriage, we need to be very careful to not get into a co-dependant relationship that is just a mirror to the one we left. A good warning to all the women who are leaving or have left: work on yourself before getting into a new relationship. Be careful. A good marriage can bring so much healing. My own wonderful husband really helped me heal from childhood wounds, and I thank God for that.

      • Aly on January 9, 2018 at 11:25 am

        JoAnn,
        Such great wisdom!
        Amy~ Praise God!! Wow love hearing about these outcomes and the truth about restoring.

        Hugs and great Joy for your new healing!

      • Amy on January 11, 2018 at 1:00 am

        Yes, JoAnn, it is very important to work on ourselves after leaving an abusive/destructive relationship before diving right back into another one.
        It’s so important to gain our self worth through the Lord and to learn from the lesson of being with an abuser. I read Leslie’s blog, A Cry for Justice blog and read several books to help my healing process.

        When my current husband and I got together, I honestly was not looking for a relationship and really wondered if I would ever remarry. We did a lot of talking about our pasts, our faith, our failed marriages (he is divorced too) and began going to church together. I was very cautious and prayed a lot for my eyes to remain wide open and not be clouded over by romantic feelings.

        It was me I didn’t trust in being discerning enough to avoid the same mistake I made the first time and so I actually found myself looking for issues but I just never saw anything which sent up red flags.

        I praise the Lord for sending someone like this into my life to give me a new perspective on what marriage can be.

        • JoAnn on January 11, 2018 at 10:10 am

          Amen! You said it all very well.

    • Renee on January 9, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      Amy I am so, so happy for you!

      Thanks for sharing your post.

  16. Renee on January 9, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    In response to Tracey. I don’t remember getting your post but will give it a shot.

    I understand what you mean when you say, “I just don’t know what normal anger is anymore.” I also love your counselor analogy. [It’s a grain of rice] Yes, they seek it out.

    Here is what anger looks like in my marriage.

    The anger was wrapped up with so many accusations that I could never figure out what the real problem was, what he wanted to discuss that day, or what need he thought was not being met.

    The anger was full of yelling and loudness.

    The anger was full of talking over so there was no two-way communication.

    The anger followed up with hours or days of silence – the punishment phrase. Withdrawal of love and affection.

    The anger could at times include name calling, mocking, and belittling.

    The anger was aggressive in nature.

    The anger included slamming house doors, car doors, taking off doors, hiding things.

    So for me normal/healthy anger would look completely opposite of what I listed. But I would be very interested in what some others have to say.

    I would love to have that in my life.

    • JoAnn on January 10, 2018 at 12:01 am

      Renee, what you describe is essentially an infantile temper tantrum. This is someone who has stored up a lifetime of anger and, like a pressure cooker that is blowing off steam, he blows up at any little provocation. People who are angry in their core are always looking for someone to dump their anger on, for a reason to let off some of that steam. There is no reasoning with them, no way to mitigate the anger. The only option is to get away as fast as possible.
      Normal anger is quiet. It is expressed in words like, “I am feeling angry right now because….” Then, “I’ll need to take a walk so I can calm down enough to be able to talk about this.” That’s what a healthy expression of anger looks like. The Lord said, “Be angry yet do not sin.” (Eph. 4:26) He also said, “Don’t let the sun go down on your indignation.” We can be angry for lots of reasons, but to hold onto anger is to “give place to the devil.” (4:28) Then that looks like rage, which is what you have been witnessing. Just remember: that anger does not belong to you. It is not yours to hold onto. Pray for the Lord to lift that burden of anger out of your heart. Be cleansed of it. When we are targets of another’s anger, it is like arrows into our hearts, and we need the Lord to heal those wounds. Release all that anger into His His hands and be cleansed. Praying for you all to experience freedom from the anger of those who have hurt you.

  17. Aly on January 11, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Aleea,

    Thanks for posting back some of your thoughts and personal experiences with change.
    Goodness I wish there ‘maybe there is?’ A book titled;
    CHANGE, GROWTH~ an Essential, stop fighting it!

    I find it ironic and a bit of a dangerous culture message where many places ‘media too’ is about the January change!
    This marketing about changing our bodies, changing our health etc is perfectly culturally acceptable .. especially in the month of January but in the church culture and many church communities, often I see an ‘offense’ to change. Do others see this?

    It’s like there is this belief that has been imbedded about being accepted as you are ~ which I do believe this to be critical, but often that belief seems to get rooted in. Destructive individuals with this belief are ‘stuck’and can be dangerous to be around. They don’t have a thought process about changing something about themselves is JUST as vital to their well being and the kingdom as receiving theGospel right where they are.

    You wrote some interesting things:
    “Everyone wants to be changed but no one wants to be set on fire and burst into flames and have the deadwood burnt off.”

    I’m not convinced that everyone does want change in fact, I think more often people (not those being victimized) tend to not want things to change, especially those who are benefiting from whatever scenario. Do they lack ‘want to change’?

    The benefit list can run long but often I don’t believe people especially destructive/controlling people set out wanting to ‘change’ or be stretched and transformed~ Unhealthy Power has become their security blanket.
    I do think this is where Christ comes in and without our full understanding He changes our lenses, thoughts and hopefully responses. He keeps those unique undeveloped things He designed for His purposes and there are plenty good things/attributes in all of us to be uniquely kept because they are from the Lord.
    Any good you may see in me, isn’t anything of myself, but of only Him💕

    You mentioned transformation and the business God is in all through the New Test.
    I agree;)

    Here is a quote from an article on change:
    Rebecca Barlow Jordan writes,
    “According to 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT), anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! Change takes place when we
    become a follower of Jesus. Do we still struggle with the old? Yes, only because we are still human, live in a fallen world, and will always be dealing with temptation. But as new believers, Jesus brings a new “want-to” into our lives—brought about by His grace and His Spirit that gives us the power to change. The words new life for believers indicate that change is not only good; it’s necessary. He will continue to change us throughout our lives.”

    It’s not instantaneous but a process worth trekking 💜

  18. Aly on January 11, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Aleea,

    I can agree with you many of your points on repentance and the rebirth of being saved by Grace alone!
    That’s the beginning ‘the start’.
    We are saved for ‘good works’!
    Growing into a more spiritually mature Christian is the work He brings about in us by His power. To be positioned ‘to want to grow’ more Christ~like to want to grow and be used to grow the kingdom of God.

    I don’t always believe in instantaneous maturity and character growth.
    I see that as a lifelong process.
    Sometimes God does work instantaneously and miracles of His choosing for His will.

    Of course I want instant results at the gym from my workout but that doesn’t happen, the change happens a lot more slowly than I would prefer but the less I exercise, I will see a correlation to my results.

    Hugs and prayers always 💜

    • JoAnn on January 11, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      Re: growth….The process of transformation is a slow process. Paul, in 1 Cor likens it to planting and watering, “But God gives the growth.” Growth in the Bible is never instantaneous. We grow by God dispensing His divine life into us, day by day, through our prayer, our times in His word, opening our being to Him to do His work in us. We all would like an instant transformation, but that’s just not His way. His way is growth, day by day. That puts the burden on us to cooperate with His operation within us, by grace.

      • Leslie Vernick on January 11, 2018 at 4:39 pm

        Great point. We can’t control the rate of growth anymore than we can make our children grow faster. But what we can do is nourish properly so that growth is more likely to occur.

  19. JoAnn on January 11, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Dear, dear Aleea, You are getting confused again by all the historic references. I wish I had time to show you all the verses that make clear that our salvation is instant and permanent. It’s a done deal. Christ paid the price for us to be redeemed from the clutches of Satan, and now, now one can snatch us our of His hands. The moment we opened our heart to the Lord, He sanctified us and justified us, so in His eyes, all the work is already done. HOWEVER, because we still have our fallen nature, it needs to be transformed, by the renewing of the mind. Our mind holds lots of concepts and untruths, and those need to be replaced by God’s truth, which He accomplishes as we get into the word with a heart of faith, and by dispensing more of His divine life into us, little by little, day by day. This is the Christian experience. You are already deeply rooted in Christ. He is doing His divine work in you. He is not going to give up on you or me, though I confess that there are times when I want to say, “Stop the world, I want to get off!”

  20. Aly on January 11, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Aleea,

    The exercise example was just a metaphor.
    When a person receives the ‘work of Christ on the Cross’ for their sins, they are forgiven.
    Justification, Salvation and Sanctification are all connected but different parts.
    I am justified as saved by Christ’s sacrifice and His work on the cross~justification. This means that I have an eternal promise to someday be reunited with Christ forever~ salvation.
    I am in process each day as the Lord transforms me more and more into the Christlikeness through only His power ~ sanctification.

    When we see ‘as God reveals to us’ …, that we are completely dependent on Christ’s sufficiency of His work on the cross, we see our total need for Him.
    The Bible is a continuous story about man’s Salvation through God’s plan of redemption and restoration.

  21. JoAnn on January 12, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Aleea, you said, “No one ever heard of this stuff of which you speak till the German Pietist movements in the 17th and 18th centuries. Just like when we talk about marriage, divorce and remarriage —no one close to Christ’s ministry in the earliest of churches talked like we do. Our post-modern talk takes centuries and centuries and centuries and centuries to come about —and mostly the 20th and 21st centuries.” I’m sorry, but that is just not true. I am currently reading a wonderful biography of Martin Luther (Eric Metaxis) in which it is clear that Luther saw clearly justification by faith in Christ, and so many other very important items of the faith. One hundred years before him, Jan Hus was burned at the stake for the very same beliefs. There were many others who were martyred for believing the Bible for their salvation. Also, I believe that over the centuries, many truths in the Bible have slowly been revealed, bit by bit. So we cannot rely on what the early church fathers believed as being the whole story. All we can say is that they believed according to they understood at the time. Until the last couple of decades, no one had any understanding at all of the book of Revelation. But in recent times the Lord has given insight and understanding to some men He has chosen to teach us what it’s all about. These are the end times….and I know that many over the centuries have believed that, too. But when you consider how the Lord has opened the word to us in these days, in such a complete way, and the world situation, I really do believe that He wants us to prepare diligently for His return. He has already done everything necessary for our salvation. Praise Him!

    • Aly on January 12, 2018 at 9:41 am

      JoAnn, Aleea

      JoAnn you wrote;
      ” I really do believe that He wants us to prepare diligently for His return. He has already done everything necessary for our salvation. Praise Him!”

      Yes! Praise Him✝️!

      Because of what He has done as you say for ‘our salvation’, this can’t help but create a response from those who believe in His work on the cross.

  22. JoAnn on January 12, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Aleea, (and others!) I found this in my email this morning, and it might clarify some of the issues you have brought up:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bible Verses ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Ephesians 1:4 Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation
    of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love,
    1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, “You shall be holy because
    I am holy.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Words of Ministry ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Love here refers to the love with which God loves His chosen
    ones and with which His chosen ones love Him. It is in this
    love, in such a love, that God’s chosen ones become holy and
    without blemish before Him. Firstly, God loved us. Then this
    divine love inspires us to love Him in return. In such a
    condition and atmosphere of love, we are saturated with God
    to be holy and without blemish as He is. Therefore, to be
    holy we need to stay with God in His love.

    For example, during your time with the Lord in the morning,
    you may be under the process of being soaked and saturated
    with Him [in His love]. But then your [husband] may say something to offend you and you lose your temper. Thus, after breakfast you go back to your room and pray, “O Lord, forgive me. I was being saturated with You, but one word from my [husband] caused me to be apart from You. Lord, bring me back to the soaking. Lord, how I praise You for the cleansing blood!”
    The purpose of this illustration is to point out that when
    we are in touch with God, we are holy. But when we are away
    from God, we are not holy. [And it is His love that draws us
    to stay in fellowship with Him.]
    I believe that you have this experience, Aleea.

  23. JoAnn on January 12, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    LOL. Hugs to you, Dear Sister.

  24. JoAnn on January 16, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Aleea, for the sake of those of us who don’t know Greek, please translate when you include Greek words. 🙂

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