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Assaulted mom needs help.

Will you help?

A Facebook friend posted a plea for financial aid and prayer help for a local mom with whom she goes to church and she has known for many years. Michelle and the children fled their home the evening of the assault and spent the next three weeks in a domestic violence shelter. During that time, an order for protection was filed against her husband. She is now back home with the children.

Of course, I began private messaging information that I thought might be useful and important during this time of financial and legal need for her friend.

Mid-week brought an opportunity for me to talk with and pray for this abused mom, Michelle. I’m overwhelmed for her! Michelle has multiple sclerosis so she obviously battles health issues. Michelle has nine children and is in a high risk pregnancy with number ten on the way. Put that combination together and imagine how a woman who has been a stay-at-home mom the last nine years is going to find a job to support her family when she isn’t capable of working during this pregnancy; plus not many employers will be thrilled to find out a new employee will need time off for MS health issues, and/or time off for taking care of sick kids when they come home from school with the latest virus.

There is a common thread woven through Michelle’s abuse that I often refer to on my blog under Toxic Tuesday posts. It’s a common factor (term/diagnosis) I hear of over and over by abused women.

I’m not able to go into details about the attack against Michelle for legal reasons, or about what is taking place in the courts. I can tell you that she is optimistic, hopeful, joyful, and is living day by day trusting in God…and praying…and keeping scriptures printed out and in front of her to help through difficult daily moments.

I’m asking my readers to go to the below  YOUCARING link and make a contribution to help Michelle purchase groceries and take care of immediate financial needs for her family.

Please pray for Michelle, and for her kids. Obviously, when abuse happens with children in the home the children are also traumatized.

Thank you in advance for your compassion.

Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

Michelle Teeter

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4th Short Clip: Disappeared Lynn Messer

Disappeared Lynn Messer

 

Disappeared: American Gothic will air tomorrow, March 26, 2017 on  Investigation Discovery Channel at 9:00 p.m. central time.

In this clip Lynn’s son Abram brings up a perceptive and logical talking point about suicide victims. I agree with Abram. I’ve never heard of a person committing suicide and doing this either. I looked under dozens of Google search terms and came up with zero such instances.

Watch what Abram has to say here: I was not able to embed the video to my blog so you will have to click on the link. Disappeared Investigation Discovery Channel

Also, friends of Lynn’s have set up a new Facebook page; Find Lynn Messer II where Lynn’s life may be remembered and  honored in a loving, caring and loyal setting.

https://mobile.twitter.com/DiscoveryID/status/845668372884926464/video/1

 

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Remembering Lynn Messer observations & interview

Lynn Messer

 

From the Find Lynn Messer Facebook page, January 13, 2017, written by Kerry Messer:

(Most media is only interested in sensationalism rather than helping us to find any true answers. To sell advertising they create as much drummed up drama as they can. Thus it is getting harder and harder to discern which media may be willing to report on facts and truth, verses those looking for and creating false accusations just to hype their ‘so called’ ‘news reports’. This is why I have reinstituted our 33 year old policy of no longer allowing media onto our property or in our home.)

I haven’t found any media outlets sensationalizing information and drumming up drama to sell advertising. This remark sends up another red flag to me. It reminds me of how some people have the innate ability to detract from the problem at hand (usually something to do with them self) to keep people off-balance, or to hide the truth. I think the media have been unusually easy on Kerry Messer; possibly due to his political standing in the state. I haven’t heard, or read, of any tough questions proposed to Kerry.

A popular Facebook trend is to leave a one word status describing you or someone else, or a character trait you want to be known by. The word that comes to my mind for the above post is, ‘bizarre.’ As for accusations, Mr. Messer has left himself wide open due to the nature of his posts on his Find Lynn Messer Facebook page, coupled with his relationship with Spring Thomas and the fact that Ms. Thomas is never mentioned by him in the posts. He seems to long for Lynn as if Ms. Thomas doesn’t exist and doesn’t matter; or could it be he wants to hide his relationship with Spring Thomas from the modest loyal followers he has on his Find Lynn Messer page?

The below interview mentions a protective order separating the family at this time. I found it interesting the reporter didn’t mention who was granted the ex parte; order of protection. The judge heard credible testimony which allowed for the order to be granted.

As for Aarron and Abram; they remember what mattered most to their mom: God, love and family. They draw from the lessons their mom taught them about selfless love. They choose to, “honor her and carry on—not for her—but in her stead”¹  “together; by being there for each other,” and by using the lessons she taught them to help guide them.

I hope Lynn was allowed to gaze down from heaven during her memorial service to view her sons’ love in action. More so, to see all her grand children lined up in a church pew together; enjoying each other’s company. Affectionate smiles, giggles and heads leaning in to one another—cousins chatting while patiently waiting for the service to begin.

Witnessing loving relationships. Hearing about the goodness of the Lord in the midst of difficult circumstances. Holding on to hope. Serving others. Loving God. These are the lessons Lynn taught, and these are the lessons being lived out that she would have seen from heaven’s view.

 

Click below to read more and watch:

Remembering Lynn Messer, family reflects on disappearance

 

 

 

¹ http://www.kfvs12.com/story/34245902/remembering-lynn-messer-family-reflects-on-disappearance

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In Loving Memory of Lynn Marie (Hoog) Messer

Lynn Messer

Born: June 4, 1962

Disappeared: July 8, 2014

Recovered: November 1, 2016

 

Last weekend, December 17, 2016, nestled  between the hours of two winter storm systems, Lynn Messer’s sons and their families,  Lynn’s extended family, and Lynn’s friends held a private, memorial service to celebrate a life well lived. A family friend, Pastor Pat Crisler officiated at the service. It was a quiet, peaceful goodbye filled with loving memories.

I felt honored to attend and was given permission to share Lynn’s eulogy with my readers. Many of you have shown compassion, understanding and agreement with Abram and Aarron’s testimony and questions surrounding their mom’s death.

Many people have taken great interest in this case and have faithfully followed every news outlet awaiting evidence and answers; hoping and praying for Lynn to be found—and now for truth to be revealed.

So for you who have felt helpless during the wait and wondered what you could do that would make a difference; I have a way you can participate in a purpose that was dear to Lynn’s heart. You may click on the link at the end of this post to leave a memorial gift in Lynn’s name and show the family that you haven’t forgotten. Let’s keep Lynn’s  memory alive and help further a ministry important to her.  Most of all, continue to pray for Lynn’s family as they wait for answers.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

Lynn Marie (Hoog) Messer,

BORN: At Saint Anthony’s on June 4, 1962

To the best we know, Lynn Died in July of 2014 under unknown but sudden circumstances. It is not for us to debate the cause of her death here today. But we will remember the life she had with us and celebrate her everlasting life with our Eternal Father at His throne in Heaven.  

Lynn was a beloved and devoted daughter to her parents: Mother—Flo Hoog (with us today) and Father—Charles Hoog (gone on to be with the Lord in 2014. She was the middle sister of three; the oldest being Debra (Hoog) Donze, and youngest sister Julie (Hoog) Rayfield. Lynn was an adoring and beloved mother to her two sons Aarron and Abram; a protective and doting grandmother to her grand children; Emily, Morgan, Isaiah, Gabriel, Gideon, Grace and Gage. Lynn was a caring, mentoring mother-in-law to Elizabeth and Kris. Lynn was a cherished and loved friend to all of us.

Most importantly, Lynn was a true child of God.

Lynn grew up in Arnold Missouri, and moved to Bloomsdale when she was 13 years old.

Her childhood would be described as a loving member to a warm and loving home; spending time with her cousins and sisters where they would put on skits and perform little shows for their parents and family.

She really loved going out to her grandparents hog farm by Tower Rock… where she developed a lifelong dream of someday having her own hog farm.

Lynn attended school in Saint Genevieve, MO graduating from Valle High School.

Lynn always loved education and learning new things. She later in life went on to college learning soil sciences, and agriculture, which she was able to use later by serving on the local Soil and Water Board.

Lynn’s life was full of great and wonderful accomplishments for a small town girl from Southeastern Missouri. She served in a wide variety of programs and projects at church. She fell in love with foreign missions in Ecuador where she made numerous trips, made friends and was even looking forward to not only teaching and leading people to the Lord, but also was making plans to use her knowledge of soil science to help teach the indigenous people of Ecuador how to use their natural resources to better provide for their families.

At her home church, Lynn was extremely active in Vacation Bible School, WMU, Sunday school, home missions projects, mentorship programs such as Apples of Gold, and nursery; particularly having a heart in any area which included children.  

Previous to living in Saint Genevieve County, she was instrumental in creating Backyard Bible Studies in St. Louis where she lived, and was involved in inner city ministries.

She was also heavily involved in the home school community. She created multiple coop classes, organized field trips and immersed herself in her children’s educational experience.  

Lynn’s hobbies and interest included a love for painting, drawing, quilting, gardening and farming. She would spend hours in front of her sewing machine making clothes, quilts for people at church who were having babies, designing and creating props for teaching aids in ministries, and doll clothes for her granddaughter’s dolls.

She loved crafting, and creating gifts and decorations which made her house a warm and welcoming home to everyone.

Her love of animals and her desire to encourage her grandchildren to develop an interest in animal sciences helped her to become involved in 4H, and group projects with her grandchildren.

If you had to pick one defining character trait for Lynn it would be Love for others, all others.

Ask anyone who has ever met Lynn and they will tell you she was filled with a love for people. She was filled with a desire to demonstrate by her life’s example and Christian testimony how the love of God knows no limits. She was always looking for an opportunity to tell somebody of the hope which she had found through Jesus Christ. For her, the relationship she had with Christ was not simply a part of her life, but rather it was a driving force which motivated her to put her life into action for God. She saw it as her duty to live out her faith. There are countless stories over the years of how she would go out of her way to minister to total strangers.

A scripture from the Bible which best describes Lynn’s life, and one of her favorite passages was:  1 Corinthians 13 (HCSB)

If I speak human or angelic languages
but do not have love,
I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy
and understand all mysteries
and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith
so that I can move mountains
but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,
and if I give my body in order to boast[a]
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,
does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.
But as for prophecies,
they will come to an end;
as for languages, they will cease;
as for knowledge, it will come to an end.
For we know in part,
and we prophesy in part.
10 But when the perfect comes,
the partial will come to an end.
11 When I was a child,
I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man,
I put aside childish things.
12 For now we see indistinctly,[b] as in a mirror,[c]
but then face to face.
Now I know in part,
but then I will know fully,
as I am fully known.
13 Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

 

Please click here to leave your tax-deductible memorial gift in Lynn Messer’s name. This will redirect you to the Sainte Genevieve Area Center for Life secure website. In the ‘NOTE” section please enter “In memory of Lynn Messer”. You may add anything else to the note also.

Or mail a check, Memo: ‘In memory of Lynn Messer’ to :

Ste. Genevieve Area Center For Life

P.O. Box 375

Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670

 

~Thank you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Validation and Help for Abused Women

Yes, yes I did read the Gary Thomas blog earlier this week! My text messages, emails and Facebook messages have been lighting up with the forwarded article.

I’m always grateful to read a godly man addressing an issue that is largely overlooked in the Christian community. More than overlooked, it is commonly hushed, ignored, or mishandled. (*Disclaimer: I’m not including my home church in this statement. I’m pleased to say that they have addressed abuse in the home on multiple occasions and support the abused spouse and/or child in their civil/legal and biblical recourse to report and/or leave an abusive person and seek help and safety.)

The church overall; however, is utterly failing abused women and children. The church often insists on the victim submitting, forgiving, forgetting, enduring, staying, saving the husband’s reputation, the church’s reputation, and…I’ve even heard; not obscuring the name of Christ.

I’m quite confident Christ does not need us to protect his reputation. He is secure in who He is and He will never ask us to protect an institution over an individual.

“I am God, and I’m passionate about one thing; My relationship with you.” Exodus 34:14 Paraphrased

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
    ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
    and see that they get justice.” Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT

If you haven’t read the Gary Thomas article; here it is. My heart is for every church staff member, leader, teacher and attendee to read, understand, and then step forward when you learn of abuse. Abuse victims need validation, understanding and help achieving safety.

I’m including multiple links to help those living in an abusive relationship. These links are what I consider the cream of the crop. The best for quickly understanding what God has to say about the victim, the abuser, and the means for obtaining help, safety, sanity and healing.

Click the below links for more information. Also, please copy the ‘Enough is Enough’ article and distribute it to your church staff and leadership. An abused woman in your church will be thankful.

enough-is-enough-2-1

Gary Thomas article: Enough is Enough

Leslie Vernick

Leslie Vernick,Photo credit: Twitter profile picture

Leslie Vernick:Author of… The Emotionlly Destructive Relationship and The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. If you are in a difficult or abusive relationship, Leslie’s website is the place to begin for help, hope and healing. Leslie also provides a great blog community of support  for women in destructive and abusive marriages.

 

unholy-charade

A Cry for Justice: Awakening the evangelical church to domestic violence and abuse in its midst. 

Jeff Crippen, author and pastor for over 30 years, and Barbara Roberts, author and survivor of domestic abuse, created this website to:

 

visionary-womanhood

 

Visionary Womanhood: Because to live courageously, we need to see clearly. This is another blog community for women who want to recover their sanity by learning to identify and heal from emotional and spiritual abuse.  

 

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Millenials and “Cool” Christianity

Damaris

Allow me to introduce you to Damaris.

I have known her since she was a young elementary grade student and now she’s in college. I adore her—so when I saw that she was writing I naturally wanted to share her thoughts with you.

Damaris recently wrote an article for an online website, Odyssey, which showcases student-written articles that are posted on Facebook and shared on all forms of social media.  Odyssey is a social content platform for millennials, from all walks of life, to share their ideas and perspectives about relevant topics which otherwise may not be heard. I’m so proud of Damaris for her bold stand.

We live in a society where words; descriptions and slang, are tossed around without thought and Damaris does a terrific job of addressing the issue.

Please hear the gentleness in my voice: For those of you who are not believers in Jesus; this article does not apply to you. This is fodder for debate among those who claim to be Christians.

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Image credit: Damaris Wyand

Millenials and ‘Cool Christianity reminds me of when God, in Genesis, gave Jacob the name Israel. We read in Exodus 1:9 that God’s people, who are slaves in Egypt, are still called the Israelites. They could have been forced to assimilate into the Egyptian culture, or they could have attempted to become part of the Egyptian empire, but they didn’t. They remained different from the nation and culture around them.  I think their peculiarities kept them enslaved; knitted together. If the Egyptians had been friendly to the Israelites it would have been easy to melt into the surroundings.  God didn’t want them to blend. He wanted them to be set apart; not accepted as friends of the society. We are not called to soak in our culture. We are called to exude Christ-likeness.

“Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.” Psalm 1: 1-2

The above verses also speak to us on the topic of ‘Cool Christianity’. We are called to be Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard smallfriendly, to love other people, and to speak the truth in love which is different than walking alongside them and absorbing their worldly philosophies. We do not stake claim with them, or affirm or agree with what they are saying, or doing, if it is out of line with scripture.

Keep writing, Damaris! You do it well and I agree with you, “Let’s try to have as much of Jesus as possible and become more like Him. If the world rejects us, all the better. We are not here to blend in anyway.” We are to glorify God, love Him while we love and serve others, maintain unity with fellow Christians, and keep our identity in God—like the Israelites did.

A person who knows right from wrong and chooses to do what’s wrong is a sinner.

Is there forgiveness of sins? Of course! Christ’s finished work on the cross provides our redemption through the free gift of grace.

The apostle, Paul, addressed this in the book of Romans:

 So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!

That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country.” Romans 6:1-5 The Message

 

Read Millenials and “Cool” Christianity by Damaris Wyand at theoddyseyonline.com

 

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Guest Post: The Secret Language of Narcissists: How Abusers Manipulate Their Victims

 

Validation.

Isn’t that what so many people who suffer from narcissistic abuse long for in their lives? Yes!  (Most sufferers are women since the majority of narcissists are men.)

I hear from so many of you who live with, or are in some type of relationship with, a narcissist. Many of you tell me of being divorced from your narcissist, but your children are stuck in the middle and are still heavily influenced, and/or abused by him.

Here is another article that will remind you: You’re not crazy, and you can take back the control and power from your abuser.

GUEST POST:

The Secret Language of Narcissists: How Abusers Manipulate Their Victims

 

a real man is

 

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Why Men Don’t Change

Source: Why Men Don’t Change

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I’ve been a reader of Gary Thomas’s books for several years and I’m always thankful for his spiritual insight and practical applications.

This article will be helpful to many of my readers who are in difficult marriages, or know a friend or loved one in a difficult marriage. The difficulty could be due to mental illness or ‘functional fixedness.’ Although some mental illnesses have roots in chemical imbalance or genetics; many are due to long rooted sin that has become a ‘normal’ way of life, but make no mistake, it is a sinful pattern and it CAN be changed. The person has to want to change and that is where Gary Thomas has insight into how to pray for this change. His future blogs will have practical application on the subject.

“Many wives live with great frustration because even though they point out to their husbands how much they are hurting, their husbands don’t seem to care and they don’t change. In many cases, this is due to ‘functional fixedness,’ which means a man isn’t motivated by his wife’s pain; he’s only motivated by his pain. This is a spiritual condition and directly related to his spiritual maturity. If you or someone you know is stuck in the mire of living with a recalcitrant spouse, you might find this post particularly helpful.”

 

Read more…

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Why I Chose A Toxic Husband; and He Me

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

I was recently asked if I received counseling before, during or after my divorce from my narcissistic, delusional, abusive, sex addicted, first husband; who was also a pastor. This was followed up with an inquiry of what I learned.

Here are some details of my answers.call on Him in truth

Yes! Yes, I went to counseling…for several years I went to counseling; in fact, any time I feel like some aspect of my life is consuming my thought life or spiraling out of control, I seek a professional, Christian counselor or psychologist.

My personal opinion is: Strong people seek help when feeling weak.

The first nine years of my first marriage I had avoided counselors for three reasons. 1.) I was constantly told, by my husband, that our marriage and ministry problems were because of me.  2.) I could not afford a professional.  3.) By the time I realized it wasn’t all me I felt I didn’t have anyone I could tell. We were in the ministry and seeking help meant telling someone what was going on in my marriage, but a good wife doesn’t say bad things about her husband and I had some serious issues to reveal.

In year nine, of eleven, I decided I was seeking help no matter who I had to tell, or what I had to tell. God provided a safe person, a safe married couple, for me. And guess what? They already knew from observation that I was in an unhealthy marriage with a mentally ill man who was refusing help and healing. From there I sought a godly Christian counselor, who as God would provide for me, had also been married to a man with narcissistic personality disorder. So she had in-depth knowledge of a portion of what I had endured.

My question to my helpers, counselors and doctors was, “What is wrong with me that I choose someone this mentally ill; this messed up? I have to be suffering, untreated, from mental illness myself. Please help me find what it is so I can heal.”  Sobbing and pleading, I begged people to tell me what my mental illness was. After all, you can’t receive help and healing if you don’t know what is ill, or wrong.

I never asked myself, “Why me? Why did this happen to me?”

I knew why. It was a consequence of my own sinful choices and actions before marriage. Yet I wanted to know why I was drawn to him.

Here is what I found out about myself:

I gravitated toward what I knew.

There was some generational bondage that needed to be addressed.

My track record of boyfriends was heavily dotted by young men with emotional problems; not all of them, but most of them. In hind sight, picking an emotionally traumatized husband was no shock.

I was a huge enabler. Not only could I handle my own life; including, my own junk, I took on his too.

I did not know how to set boundaries. After all, having my own opinion about something had not been optional that I could remember. Voicing my own opinion usually landed me in trouble or an argument. Narcissists respect no boundaries so I was  textbook prey.

I liked to find the positive traits in people and overlook the negative. I greatly desired to please others and put their needs ahead of mine. I could not stand the thought, or feeling, of being disliked. These are highly attractive traits to a narcissist because they need an endless supply of reassurance that they are wonderful, beautiful, highly talented, intelligent, gifted, funny, extremely amazing, nice, and the utmost special person on planet earth. They surround themselves with, ‘Yes’ men and women who would never want to hurt the narcissist’s feelings by saying, “No.”

I was accustomed to being treated harshly while being told I was loved.

Narcissists are attracted to strong women. The problem is that once they have you the strength they were attracted to becomes an object of the narcissist’s wrath; they despise your strength. They hate their own lack of self-control so they want to control you. They want to absorb you; become you because they don’t have their own identity. They spend their life demolishing the essence of who you are; or at least, chipping it away piece by piece. They want you to believe the lie that everything is your fault, and since I was a young, boundry-less, enabling nineteen year old when I married a minister five years older than me; I assumed he was right. Even when he lied to me about me I thought there must be something terribly wrong with me.  They know you are strong and that you won’t put your problems on their shoulders. In fact, since your shoulders are so strong they want you to solve and take care of their problems too; hoping you will heal their wounds.

I was a pro at picking up subtle hints and catering to them.

Narcissists are experts at manipulation and control so he used my big heart for his own ill purposes.

Waiting for a narcissist to love you is like waiting for a person whose eyes are gouged out to see again; it is not possible for a narcissist to bond or love.

Although I should have known, I did not know crazymaker (gas lighting) was a real term that embodied human flesh.

I learned that being too nice can cost you and your child your safety, your life, and your sanity.

I also learned that when the line of safety is crossed with your child; fierceness like no other can come out of you.  It’s a healthy fierceness that should have been employed sooner than it was.

I’m grateful to say I learned I am not suffering from mental illness and I don’t have a personality disorder. My life’s traumas did; however, leave me with auto-immune diseases.

So…if you or a loved one is in a relationship with an abusive, addicted or mentally ill person who refuses to acknowledge their struggle and seek help; please know, they can’t stop you from seeking help, safety, protection and healing. There is help and there is hope.

 LYRICS:

You could not plan for this. No, there was no silhouette

Up against the pink horizon; to warn you of the hit

But you absorbed it all with grace; like a child you spoke of faith unmoved

That holds onto you.

Chorus:

This thing is going to try to break you, but it doesn’t have to

You’re showing us how. This thing is going to bend and shape you,

But He won’t let it take you. You know it somehow.

This thing is not going to break you.

You could take your loss. You could hide away from us,

With your grief lassoed around you, but you’re laying it in the sun.

And you stare straight into the light. You say you’d rather go blind than look away.

What can I say?

Chorus:

This thing is going to try to break you, but it doesn’t have to

You’re showing us how. This thing is going to bend and shape you,

But He won’t let it take you. You know it somehow.

This thing is not going to break you.

This thing is not going to break you. This thing is not going to break you.

Why Wait Till Marriage: What No One Tells You. What I Wish Someone Had Told Me

Written by Ann Voskamp; this is by far my favorite explanation and sound reasoning for teaching why God’s way is the best in every way.  CLICK the above link.

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Update: Detoxification—You Can Help

Here is an update on a previous post, Detoxification—You Can Help, about a woman named Krissy who recently had her world turned upside down when she found out her husband had molested a child. Her husband was arrested, he admitted to the crime, and he remains in jail.

Burden clipart

I want to share a Facebook post by Krissy so you can glimpse a snapshot of her life, her heart, her need…her trust in the One who is trustworthy in all circumstances—including when life seems it can’t get any lower…but does…again and again.

“Father,
I need your breath of life again. Without it, I won’t exist. I need you to recreate me. Like dry bones, I am nothing. Yet, I’m waiting. I cannot say I am hoping, because Lord, hope hurts too much. Instead, I just am waiting. Waiting for you to restore me, fulfill me, and make me new.
Is there yet more in me, Father, that needs to be broken before you can reshape me? Reveal it, and don’t wait any longer. Break me. Make me. Then again, God, if you don’t, I will choose to accept it and understand that some of your work is done in the waiting. As much as it hurts, God, even this I will accept. May not be as graceful in the accepting, but I will try.
You are amazing, My King. None of this matters in the face of who you are and how lovely you are. How amazing is my God! How awesome He is. He knows what we need when we need it and He is a good father who gives to His children what they need. Praise you, Jesus.”

Please click this GoFundMe link or the link below and help Krissy, and her children, during their time of need. ~Thank you.

The McCuen Cause: GoFundMe link—CLICK HERE

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Toxic Tuesday: My Destructive Marriage

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My last Toxic Tuesday post, How to Love a Woman In a Destructive Marriage, detailed how to respond to a friend who confides in you about abuse taking place in her home.

Unfortunately for some women—friends, family and church members don’t believe her story. After all, many abusers are wonderful at playing the devoted victim! I believe this is true because many abusers suffer from narcissistic personality disorder and consider themselves special. They are not held to the same standards, morals or laws as the general population. Even when caught, if they admit to doing it, they insist it is not who they are. It’s a twisted mind for sure!

After nine years in my own destructive marriage I finally told my parents, and my husband’s and my ministry mentor, what had been going on in my home since shortly after I said, “I do.” No one was surprised. The mentor told me that he had believed for some time now that my husband was mentally ill but he hadn’t said anything to me since he didn’t know if I was aware or if I would believe him.

Why did I take so long to tell, you may be asking.

Good Christian women don’t tell.

Good wives don’t talk poorly about their husbands. You never tell your family because that will incite them to not like him—and they might encourage you to leave him. We are taught at Bible college, in the church and by godly older women that we never speak poorly of our husbands; especially when you are in the ministry—which we were.

We are to encourage our husbands, respect our husbands, forgive them, pray for them, hope in them, help them, and make love a daily action even when we don’t feel like it. Be intentional about how we respond in love; not frustration or anger. Don’t dwell on the negative; concentrate on the good parts. Be the one to set the tone for the atmosphere in your home to keep it positive and productive. Let go of pride.

Don’t compare your marriage to anyone else’s marriage. Don’t compare your attitude or actions to his. Pray that God will change your heart and through that, improve the difficulties in your marriage.

Care, adore, smile, kiss passionately, forgive, forgive again, be gracious, listen, compliment him, comfort him, and be content. Stay…always stay the course—it WILL pay off. It will!  It does not matter how you feel; what matters is how you respond. With God, all things are possible!

Here is the catch—God gives us free choice and your spouse has a choice in the outcome. The above does not apply in an abusive marriage or a marriage plagued with unfaithfulness.

Through the advice of my mentor I confided in one local friend, a long distance friend who would help my mentor confront my husband in hope of reconciliation and healing; as well as, tell a friend/spiritual leader of ours and our mentors from a former ministry who was very concerned about my marriage, concerned about my husband, concerned about me and wanted the very best for my daughter. It wasn’t easy telling a single detail. I didn’t know if they would believe me, tell on me to my husband, or walk away from the relationship.

Two of these close friends who knew all the ugly details of the abuse and walked the road with me for a time after telling them of my destructive, abusive and unsafe marriage, still attempted to silence me from speaking truth and achieving safety. I can’t speak for what their heart motive was; perhaps my truth made them uncomfortable. Did it hit too close to home? Was the evil, messed up truth about my spouse unbelievable? Had the narcissist won them over? Was legalism involved?

One of my friends told me, “I’ve prayed about this and God will remove his hand of protection from you if you go through with this divorce. You are taking yourself and your daughter out from underneath God’s covering, blessing, provision and protection. You are not supposed to do this and you will be sinning against God if you go through with it.”

I thanked her for her concern and told her I would pray about it more before finalizing the paperwork; however, I had only taken these measures after prolonged prayer, in depth Bible study, extensive counseling, and out of obedience to the Lord. I felt like God had held my hand while I skimmed the surface of hell begging my husband to return to me. He refused. In fact, during our time of a therapeutic separation when he was supposed to be seeking professional help and healing so our family could be reconciled; he instead took a preaching ministry and moved away. Because after all, God had called him to preach first and foremost and he was following God’s calling on His life. Good-bye to his wife and daughter—we were in the way of his career. I had spent the last two years refusing to seek another ministry because he needed spiritual guidance and serious professional emotional, psychological and psychiatric help. He decided to no longer wait for my permission; he left and moved on without me.

The other friend, George (name changed to protect his identity), whose own wife was delivered from an abusive marriage through the death of the abuser (first husband), wrote me an email after I gave him the latest report I received from my husband’s psychiatrist. I received discouraging news at every psychologist’s, neuro-psychologist’s and psychiatrist’s appointment I attended with him. But on this given day I heard the final blow that sealed the fate of reconciliation.

Unfaithfulness I had forgiven and mental-illness I could live with if he would acknowledge it and seek help and stay on his medications but hearing, “He has started down the slippery slope of pedophilia from which there is no return” was the death blow and I knew our daughter would never be safe. Before this day I kept thinking he was just mentally ill with an addiction to pornography and with help he could get better.

My hope for my husband’s healing was over. I asked the doctor a few questions and sought clarity but the doctor was clear, serious, and gave me his professional opinion about my daughter’s safety.

George had asked to be kept updated on doctor appointments, progress and prayer needs but the pedophilia information proved to be, unbeknownst to  me, the last straw. Here is the reply I received via email:

Carolyn-

I understand that life has been difficult for you. But please don’t make it more so by continually pleading your case in the court of public opinion. Whenever I hear from you it is a constant stream of bashing your husband. I’ve not said anything before, but now I must. Your husband is my friend. I know he is not perfect, but then again neither are you or I. It’s almost as if you’ve been building a case against him ever since the first of hint of problems last year. Your husband has always been different. Always. He was when we were in college. He was when you fell in love with him and married him. He is now. He could make us laugh like no one else. His nice guy looks and golden vocal cords along with his love for God and the church made him a joy to be around. All he ever wanted was to succeed for God. That dream appears to be a long shot now. But give him some dignity. Stop confessing his sins for him. You said in the email that you have been able to help some women whose husbands have left them, as if that is your situation.  Carolyn…he didn’t leave you.

If you made a mistake marrying him, say, “I made a mistake. I left him because I couldn’t take him.” Don’t write husband bashing emails. What good is that doing??? Are people lining ups saying, “Poor Carolyn,” and that’s helping you? If so, then something’s wrong there.

In love (for all three of you),

George

To this day I cannot imagine how I could have made it through this time in life without my godly ministry mentor and his wife.

Sobbing, I called them and asked if I had been inappropriate with the details I had given about my marriage and my husband’s issues. They said I had not been and then asked me to read the email from George.

After hearing George’s reply they recommended I stop all contact with him; immediately. They were dumbfounded at how he could feel this way after seeing and hearing first hand, my husband’s delusional and irrational behavior and his denial of needing help for his problems and mental illness. All they could guess was that the classic textbook narcissist had struck again; a professional liar and actor who had won over another pawn in his game.

As for, “His love for God and the church made him a joy to be around,” investigators from three different law enforcement agencies have contacted me through the years investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by my ex-husband. All these investigators have said they believe his pedophilia goes back to his teen years and that he purposefully chose the ministry as a way to access child victims from a place of trusted leadership; pastor. The investigators also believe the list of child victims is well into the hundreds but because he targets very young children, who are mostly too young to tell, he stayed under the radar. Until last summer…his reign of terror is over.

No, my husband did not file the separation papers, I did; but make no mistake…he was the one who left in every way except for the paperwork. For him to file the papers would potentially ruin any hope of his future in ministry and preaching. He HAD to be portrayed as the victim.

Had I listened to George and my other local friend, my daughter and I would most likely be dead; at the very least we would have been further abused with my daughter suffering the greatest through it.

God allowed, encouraged and provided a way out of this marriage along with Biblical grounds for divorce.

I hope this testimony brings awareness to women who desperately need help, friendship and love while they seek safety and support during an unsafe and/or difficult marriage.

Be a blessing. Pray scripture over them; in person. Offer to watch their children so they can see a Christian counselor, run an errand, or just need an hour to be alone. Invite them over for lunch. Take their children to the park for an hour. Give her a gift certificate for a massage. Drop a bag of groceries at the door. Or head over to Give Her Wings ministry website to find out how you can help. There is a , “Books we like” tab for suggestions on books that would make a great gift for a hurting wife, and it would be one way you could show her you understand and care.

You could not plan for this
No, there was no silhouette
Up against the pink horizon
To warn you of the hit
But you absorbed it all with grace
Like a child you spoke of faith unmoved
That holds onto you

This thing is going to try to break you
But it doesn’t have to
You’re showing us how
This thing is going to bend and shape you
But He won’t let it take you/You know it somehow
This thing is not going to break you

You could take your loss
You could hide away from us
With your grief lassoed around you
But you’re laying it in the sun
And you stare straight into the light
You say you’d rather go blind than look away
What can I say?

This thing is going to try to break you
But it doesn’t have to
You’re showing us how
This thing is going to bend and shape you
But He won’t let it take you
You know it somehow
This thing is not going to break you
This thing is not going to break you
This thing is not going to break you

Link

5 Indicators: A Jerk or a Wicked Heart? There is a Difference

5 Indicators of an Evil and Wicked Heart

by Leslie Vernick

As Christian counselors, pastors and people helpers we often have a hard time discerning between an evil heart and an ordinary sinner who messes up, who isn’t perfect, and full of weakness and sin.

I think one of the reasons we don’t “see” evil is because we find it so difficult to believe that evil individuals actually exist. We can’t imagine someone deceiving us with no conscience, hurting others with no remorse, spinning outrageous fabrications to ruin someone’s reputation, or pretending he or she is spiritually committed yet has no fear of God before his or her eyes.

The Bible clearly tells us that among God’s people there are wolves that wear sheep’s clothing (Jeremiah 23:14; Titus 1:10; Revelations 2:2). It’s true that every human heart is inclined toward sin (Romans 3:23), and that includes evil (Genesis 8:21; James 1:4). We all miss God’ mark of moral perfection. However, most ordinary sinners do not happily indulge evil urges, nor do we feel good about having them. We feel ashamed and guilty, rightly so (Romans 7:19–21). These things are not true of the evil heart.

Below are five indicators that you may be dealing with an evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart.  If so, it requires a radically different treatment approach.

1. Evil hearts are experts at creating confusion and contention.

They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information. (Psalms 5:8; 10:7; 58:3; 109:2–5; 140:2; Proverbs 6:13,14; 6:18,19; 12:13;16:20; 16:27, 28; 30:14; Job 15:35; Jeremiah 18:18; Nehemiah 6:8; Micah 2:1; Matthew 12:34,35; Acts 6:11–13; 2 Peter 3:16)

2. Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words.

But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors. (Psalms 50:19; 52:2,3; 57:4;59:7; 101:7; Proverbs 12:5; 26:23–26; 26:28; Job 20:12; Jeremiah 12:6; Matthew 26:59; Acts 6:11–13; Romans 16:17,18; 2 Corinthians 11:13,14; 2 Timothy 3:2–5; 3:13; Titus 1:10,16).

3. Evil hearts crave and demand control, and their highest authority is their own self-reference.

They reject feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules to live by. They useScripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance. (Romans 2:8; Psalms 10; 36:1–4; 50:16–22; 54:5,6; 73:6–9;Proverbs 21:24; Jude 1:8–16).

4. Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the grace card.

They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust. (Proverbs 21:10; 1 Peter 2:16; Jude 1:4).

5. Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse.

They do not struggle against sin or evil—they delight in it—all the while masquerading as someone of noble character. (Proverbs 2:14–15; 10:23; 12:10; 21:27,29; Isaiah 32:6; Romans 1:30; 2 Corinthians 11:13–15)

If you are working with someone who exhibits these characteristics, it’s important that you confront them head on. You must name evil for what it is. The longer you try to reason with them or show mercy towards them, the more you, as the Christian counselor, will become a pawn in his or her game.

They want you to believe that:

1. Their horrible actions should have no serious or painful consequences.

When they say “I’m sorry,” they look to you as the pastor or Christian counselor to be their advocate for amnesty with the person he or she has harmed. They believe grace means they are immediately granted immunity from the relational fallout of their serious sin. They believe forgiveness entitles them to full reconciliation and will pressure you and their victim to comply.

The Bible warns us saying, “But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord (Isaiah 26:10).

The Bible tells us that talking doesn’t wake up evil people, but painful consequences might. Jesus didn’t wake up the Pharisee’s with his talk nor did God’s counsel impact Cain (Genesis 4). In addition, the Bible shows us that when someone is truly sorry for the pain they have caused, he or she is eager to make amends to those they have harmed by their sin (see Zacchaeus’ response when he repented of his greed in Luke 19).

Tim Keller writes, “If you have been the victim of a heinous crime. If you have suffered violence, and the perpetrator (or even the judge) says, ‘Sorry, can’t we just let it go?’ You would say, ‘No, that would be an injustice.’ Your refusal would rightly have nothing to do with bitterness or vengeance. If you have been badly wronged, you know that saying sorry is never enough. Something else is required—some kind of costly payment must be made to put things right.”1

As Biblical counselors let’s not collude with the evil one by turning our attention to the victim, requiring her to forgive, to forget, to trust again when there has been no evidence of inner change. Proverbs says, “Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips” (Proverbs. 25:19). It’s foolishness.

The evil person will also try to get you to believe

2. That if I talk like a gospel-believing Christian I am one, even if my actions don’t line up with my talk.

Remember, Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13–15). He knows more true doctrine than you or I will ever know, but his heart is wicked. Why? Because although he knows the truth, he does not believe it or live it.

The Bible has some strong words for those whose actions do not match their talk (1 John 3:17,18; Jeremiah 7:8,10; James 1:22, 26). John the Baptist said it best when he admonished the religious leaders, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (Luke 3:8).

If week after week you hear the talk but there is no change in the walk, you have every reason to question someone’s relationship with God.

Part of our maturity as spiritual leaders is that we have been trained to discern between good and evil. Why is that so important? It’s important because evil usually pretends to be good, and without discernment we can be easily fooled (Hebrews 5:14).

When you confront evil, chances are good that the evil heart will stop counseling with you because the darkness hates the light (John 3:20) and the foolish and evil heart reject correction (Proverbs 9:7,8). But that outcome is far better than allowing the evil heart to believe you are on his or her side, or that “he’s not that bad” or “that he’s really sorry” or “that he’s changing” when, in fact, he is not.

Daniel says, “[T]he wicked will continue to be wicked” (Daniel 12:10), which begs the question, do you think an evil person can really change?

[1] Tim Keller, Jesus the King, page 172

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The Association of Biblical Counselors (ABC) exists to encourage, equip, and empower people everywhere to live and counsel the Word, applying the Gospel to the whole experience of life.

Encourage: ABC provides a fellowship of believers committed to life transformation through the Living Word.

Equip: ABC promotes training in biblical counseling and points to resources that deal biblically with all of the issues of life.

Empower: ABC provides excellent materials for growth in Christ and for use in effective biblical counseling.

To find out more, visit the Association of Biblical Counselors website.

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