Empowered to Change: a 6 month group coaching program will begin Tuesday, January 6, 2015. There is still time to join. Click here for more information on Daytime Groups. Click here more information on Evening Groups.
Moving Beyond People Pleasing: 2 Session Group will be starting Monday evening February 9 and 16, with an optional third session February 23. Watch your mailbox for more information coming soon.
Four Things You Can Do When Christmas Is Not Merry
For some individuals, the holiday season feels anything but merry and it’s hard to pretend. You’ve lost a loved one and this season does not feel the same without him or her.
You’re recently divorced and the traditions and celebrations you shared as a family are now gone along with your wedding ring. Or you live alone and the holidays only magnify your isolation and lack of family or close friends.
Others dread Christmas because it conjures up bad memories of holidays past. There wasn’rsquo;t peace, joy or good will. Only drunkenness, disappointment, conflict, and hurt that continues to rage wild even if you wished it wouldn’t.If that’s you, or someone you know, let me share a few things that might help you get through these next few days.
Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Give yourself permission to grieve and process your pain. As Christians, sometimes we feel guilty for having negative emotions. Jesus knows how you feel and you never have to pretend with him. Take some time to journal out your questions, your emotions, or your complaints as David did when he wrote his psalms. He often discovered after writing, he not only felt better but he experienced God in a new way.
Daily look for the good. When we’re in pain, it’s hard to be intentional and look for the good tucked within each day. Before you go to sleep, scan the past 12 hours of your day and ask yourself what happened today that you’re most grateful for? Write it down. Keep a gratitude journal of the things you have to look hard for in order to see. The Lord tells Isaiah, “I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name” (Isaiah 45:3).
Do an act of kindness for someone you don’t know well. We can always find someone who is in need of a kind word, a good meal, a meaningful card, a hug, or a little bit of our time. Jesus said, it is more blessed to give than to receive. While you may not feel like it, give something of yourself to someone less fortunate. It will bless you as you bless another person.
Allow yourself to receive. Sometimes we’d rather sit home and eat a can of cold soup than accept an act of kindness from another person. We’re embarrassed and don’t want to feel needy. Yet God may have put you in someone’s heart in order to bless you.
I remember early in our marriage my husband became ill with a life-threatening problem. Our family didn’t live nearby but the people from our church rallied around us and not only loved us through it, but also provided cash for us to pay for some of the expenses.
It was humbling but it met our financial need and it touched our hearts.Let yourself receive their act of kindness. You both will be richer for it.
Christmas gives us a reason to be joyful but not in the way we usually celebrate it. Christmas isn’t about trees and gifts and carols and special cookies. Christmas is good news. Emmanuel, God is with us.
He sent Jesus so that we might know what God is like. Spend a few minutes just pondering Luke’s description of this miracle when he says,
“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death and to guide us to the path of peace.” Luke 1:78,79.
If you find yourself in a dark place this Season, I pray that you will experience that light and path to peace.
Am I Wrong To Consider
Question: I have been married for 29 years and have had much conflict through my marriage (the first 21 or so years of my marriage my husband was explosive and verbally abusive – this has stopped). I now realize that I should have left back then but didn’t. Most recently I am dealing with issues of pornography and drinking (together with taking his medications – Xanax (3 – 1ml per day) and Imipramine (3 per day).
He had a very unhealthy childhood and struggles with chronic anxiety (I have tolerated much and made many excuses for him due to this condition – I believe I still do). I recently confronted him about the porn and he denied it, became angry and defensive (which only tells me that he is watching although he promised he would stop – which I didn’t believe because he didn’t want to set any boundaries for himself.)
I saw a Christian counselor for one year, more or less, but I honestly think he made things worse by trying to put the ownership of my marriage on me and asking me to constantly confront my husband. It was truly exhausting and the counselor’s advise on my husband’s porn watching was to go in the room, grab him by the hand and ask him to come and have sex with me (which to be honest I didn’t do). My husband would have not responded well to this since we pretty much have sex when he wants to.
Is it wrong of me to consider pornography equal to adultery? I feel confused and conflicted in my marriage once again. I am having a hard time sleeping in the same bed with my husband and I believe it is affecting my health. Your thoughts are appreciated. Thank you.
Answer: I don’t believe you are wrong for considering regularly watching pornography equal to adultery since Jesus said, “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28. Pornography is looking lustfully at women (or men) usually coupled with masturbation to those fantasies.
I think our culture has normalized and glorified lust. The viewing of pornography is rampant. According to a 2002 Internet survey, 30% of pastors admitted to viewing pornography in the last 30 days and that was over 10 years ago. A recent survey by Barna, they report that 54% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women are addicted to pornography.
The Church has been reluctant to equate pornography with adultery because they are terrified that angry and hurt spouses would feel Biblically justified to divorce their mates….and that might be half the congregation.
However, it’s important to realize that pornography is not just about sex. You already said you have been sexually available to your husband throughout your marriage. Pornography is about laziness, greed, selfishness, boredom, feelings of inadequacy and fear of intimacy. It’s a way that someone can feel wanted, admired, pursued, important, powerful, and virile without having to give anything back. Without having to do any work to build, maintain, or repair a real relationship.
In pornography everything is fantasy and living in fantasy is always easier than living in reality. You have been the supposedly strong one in your marriage. Your compassion for your husband’s difficult childhood however, has allowed him to stay immature and weak.
I think of the children’s story The Secret Garden, where a young man’s father kept him an indulged invalid believing he was damaged at birth. It was a young female friend, who, in her own healing journey, refused to indulge his tantrums and challenged him to revise his view of himself and his condition. That may be the same change God is asking you to make in your marriage.
You cannot fix your husband’s past (nor can he). You cannot fix his addiction or his deceit about his addiction. But he will consider facing his addiction and deceit only when he is challenged with the consequences of not dealing with it.
What that means for you is that right now you need to work on you. You said your health is becoming affected. I don’t think God wants you to sacrifice yourself in order to keep your husband in a place of unconscious unawareness of his own stuff. He needs to wake up and hopefully choose life, real life, not pretend life through fantasy and drugs.
As Melody Ross’ letter to women said, be merciful to yourself – the choices that you made in the past that you most regret, let them go and say to yourself, “I know better now, I can do better now.”
If you need support and help in making your own changes, you may want to consider participating in my 6 month group coaching program, Empowered To Change. It begins January 6th. If you’re interested in the daytime group click here. If you are interested in evening group click here.
Four Things You Can Do When Christmas Is Not Merry
Accepting Coaching Waitlist Applications
Take a look at the upcoming events to watch for from Leslie
Honoring Dishonorable Parents by Jan Frank
LESLIE ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS
Am I Wrong To Consider Porn Adultery?
For more information on Leslie's coaching program, please click below:
By Jan Frank
How do I honor my parents when they’ve acted so dishonorably toward me? Does God expect me to pretend that the things that went on in our home never happened?
In Honoring Dishonorable Parents you’ll find the answers to these questions and more as Jan Frank candidly shares her own journey of honoring parents who acted in “less than honorable” ways throughout her life. She also draws from her twenty year experience as a family therapist and, based upon sound biblical teaching, demystifies what honor does and doesn’t mean.
It illustrates and instructs men and women of all ages who want to know how to maintain respectful, caring behavior toward their parents without being entangled by guilt-producing manipulation, feelings of over-responsibility, continuous family drama, or repeated verbal conflict with parents.
"FINALLY! Much needed, long awaited--this is the book I've wanted to share with others so many times in the past five years. In conversation after conversation, friends and counselees reveal the hurt, anger, confusion and anguish of what it means to have lived with less than (emotionally, spiritually) healthy parents. It affects
What Jan Frank has done is come alongside as a trusted friend and experienced therapist and given practical, loving and biblical counsel. Real stories of real people with real solutions."
- Jenny Key
If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide your name and email address.
January 1- 2, 2015
Tuscorora Conference Center Singles Retreat and Conference
Mt. Bethel - PA
January 12-16, 2015
Keep Leslie in prayer as she speaks to church leaders about emotional abuse at Havana Seminary in Cuba. Pray for her to be effective and bold.
March 6, 2015
First Friday Event
HERE'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT LESLIE'S SIX MONTH COACHING GROUP
"I appreciate the 6 month sessions and am so glad that you set it up. I am in a different place today than 6 months ago, which was my goal.
I am more at peace knowing that God loves me and will not reject me because of my mistakes. I feel more confident to use my words and every time I use my words, I get more clarity on what is happening and what my next choices might be."
Empowered To Change Participant
LESLIE WELCOMES YOUR QUESTIONS
Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.
Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.
Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.