Why Suffering Doesn’t Make Sense

Are you suffering? Have you suffered? Things happen in this life that are unfair and wrong. As a Christian community, I feel like most of the time we push past suffering. We don’t want to know the details. We don’t want to share in the suffering. We explain suffering away using two or three well placed Bible verses out of context as painful jabs. I’m not saying you, or me, I’m saying we. I’ve done it. When we follow God, we experience a strong craving for everything to make sense.

why suffering doesnt make sense

Why Suffering Doesn’t Make Sense

The problem is, the world doesn’t make sense. This world is full of sin and pain. It’s full of joy and life and peace and love too, but you can’t ignore the evil things just because the good things exist. I know that many Christians believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will fall apart when people ask, “If God is so good, why do bad things happen?” if we agree that they are asking a valid question. Instead of glossing over it why don’t give them an honest answer… Bad things happen because sin exists in our world. Sin wasn’t part of God’s plan, and sin has started a powerful wave of consequences that weren’t part of God’s plan. Suffering is one wave of consequence I am referencing. Suffering doesn’t make sense! It doesn’t make sense to non-Christians, and it doesn’t make sense to Christians. We can agree about this, and it doesn’t change our faith. It doesn’t change who Jesus is, or what He did. I was reading this yesterday, and I felt such a kinship with how Dr. Langberg describes suffering in light of Jesus Christ. She doesn’t take the easy way, as so many others do…

“For most of us suffering remains an awful problem and essentially an explainable mystery. In spite of its mysteriousness, we can say several things about suffering:

1. Suffering rarely makes sense. We know that suffering is unreasonable; it is irrational. We work very hard to make sense out of it. We write books and give talks that attempt to make suffering reasonable. Although such attempts can be very helpful to us, I often think that the ability to explain suffering is the clearest indicator of never having suffered. Who can give a rational explanation for why two parents are, for the third time, burying one of their adolescent sons? How can we make sense out of the death of a thirty-year-old mother? Who of us can look the Holocaust full in the face and adequately explain it? It does not make sense. It seems incomprehensible.

2. Suffering rarely seems just. How many times have you encountered suffering in your own life or another’s and thought it was truly fair? We try hard to balance it out. The disciples did too. When they passed a man blind from birth, they asked Jesus, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ (John 9:2). Balance it out for us. Tell us it is fair because of something someone did. Jesus was not very helpful in this regard. He said, ‘No one.’ You can rarely balance it out. There is no balance for the gang rape of an eleven-year-old-girl. There is no justice in the brutal molesting of a child. It is not fair that a boy’s trusted youth director should involve him in sexual activity. There is no fairness in the suffering of an AIDS baby. You cannot make suffering fair.

3. Suffering in and of itself is not good. It is wrong. It was not intended to exist. Death is not good; abuse is not good; violence is not good. Sometimes as Christians we sound as if we think it is good. We sit across from indescribable suffering and glibly pronounce that “all things work together for good to them that love God’ (Rom. 8:28, KJV). Now do not misunderstand. I believe that verse with all of my heart. But it is not a glib verse, and it does not say that suffering is good. It does not say, ‘Don’t worry about what you are enduring; it will all turn out nice in the end.’ It does say that the God we worship is capable of redeeming the deepest agony, the most hideous suffering, the pain beyond words, into something that gives life to others and brings glory to him. But make no mistake, the transfiguring of agony into redemption cost Jesus inestimably. Death does not normally transform into life in this dark world. God’s redemption worked out in the life of one of his children always costs. The beauty of redemption in a life never comes easily. Whenever it does come, we can be certain we have stepped into the realm of the supernatural.” -Dr. Diane Langberg from “Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse”

To sum things up, Dr. Langberg says that suffering rarely makes sense, and is rarely fair. She also reminds us that just because God can bring good things out of suffering (which is His nature), doesn’t mean that suffering itself is good.

There are still a million unanswered questions we have about suffering, the main being, “Why does God allow suffering?” But these complex questions need messy, complicated answers.

Let’s pray…

Dear Father, 

Thank You for sending Jesus Christ to redeem our lives. Help us to know that You love us, and that you will never leave nor forsake us. You promise that when troubles come, You are there. Thank You that Jesus joined in our suffering to better understand us. Help us to know suffering was never your plan.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Do you have questions about suffering? I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll try my best to answer what you ask. I hope you all have a good week, I’m praying for you.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

God Doesn’t Want You To Cut – Part 2

In my first post titled “God Doesn’t Want You To Cut,” I discussed how we all use different coping mechanisms to deal with stress. Sometimes the mechanisms we choose are harmful. I also talk about what the Bible says in regard to self-abuse.

God doesn't want you to cut.

I recently found a very informative quote about cutting (or other self harm such as binging) in Diane Langberg’s book “Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse.” I know the book says it’s for people that have been sexually abused, but this quote is for everyone. Trust me.

“I find it very important to educate those clients who self-mutilate about the biochemical changes that accompany post-traumatic stress disorder and what role those biochemical changes play in the survivor’s vulnerability to self-abuse. The endorphins (endogenous morphines) released into the bloodstream at the moment of trauma have a tranquilizing and antidepressant property. The self-mutilation occurs in order to relieve the survivor from unbearably pain internal states, not because the client is “sick” or “weird” or “likes pain.” As clients comet understand this mechanism, they can begin to see the benefit of regular aerobic exercise of some kind because such an activity is also known to release endorphins. The gradual release of endorphins during aerobic activity contributes to a longer lasting sense of well-being and a reduction in stress, elimination the urge to self-abuse.”

So you see, it isn’t that you actually want to harm yourself. It is a temporary reprieve from your intense emotional pain that you are after. Langberg suggests that you take up exercise, which will release those same endorphins, but in a much healthier way. Exercise is also part of your well-being, and an improved well-being will help you take control of your life. Well-being also includes creating healthy sleep patterns and eating healthy foods.

And remember that God wants to give rest to the weary…

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28

May the Lord continue to keep you and bless you on your journey (or as you walk alongside someone else in their journey) to healing.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

My Friend Was Abused. How Can I Help?

Last week we were privileged to stay at CCBCE in Vajta, Hungary for five days. It is always a refreshing stop for us when we travel because our best friends live there. It’s a safe place. We can be ourselves, and if that means we’re broken piles of sadness, that’s ok. That is a rare kind of friendship from what I have experienced in my life.
While we were there, the director of the school graciously allowed us to teach his final class of the semester, as he had been teaching about counseling and addiction. He told us to share how God was using counseling in our ministry. We talked about a lot of different practical problems and approaches to counseling in ministry, and shared about how Jesus meets us in the dark places where sin is perpetrated against us. Afterward, there were a lot of great questions, and I thought I would blog about one that a few people had.

my friend as abused
“My friend was abused. I’m not a counselor. What can I do to help?”
That is a really important question. I wish there would have been more time during our session to talk about that, but it was an hour long. God knows. His timing is perfect. But this blog doesn’t have a time limit, so we can talk about it here.

How to Become A Support Person

If you know someone that has experienced trauma or abuse, and you want to help them, the best thing to do is learn about abuse and trauma. There is a term for a friend that walks through the after effects of abuse or trauma with someone else. This person is called a support person. You don’t need to be a counselor in order to support someone as they journey toward healing in their life. However, there are a few steps that will help a friend become an effective support person. We are going to look at them here.

Get Educated About Abuse

The most important step is to become educated about what people feel and experience after abuse or trauma. Here are two wonderful resources that will help you on your way.
On the Threshold ff Hope,” by Diane Mandt Langberg
Good News About Injustice,” by Gary A. Haugen
If you read these two books, you will be so much better prepared to support a person that is struggling to trust another person. There are several mistakes that people who don’t understand trauma make quite often, and Diane Langber and Gary Haugen do a good job of dispelling myths that lead to these mistakes.

Be Willing To Feel Uncomfortable

It is tempting to tell someone you’d rather not hear about horrible things that happened to them when they make you feel personally uncomfortable. Some of the things I’ve heard made me nauseated and disturbed. However, Jesus didn’t shy away from the sins He faced on the cross. In Isaiah 63 we see that Jesus was afflicted in all of the affliction of God’s children:
“In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presences saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old.” -Isaiah 63:9
Sometimes the truth is very hard to hear, but we must. If we want to be like Jesus, we must allow our own notions of what is comfortable to be shattered. Horrible, unthinkable sins exist in our world, and if we refuse to acknowledge them, we are taking away the survivor’s voice just as much as their abuser did. They need a safe, nonjudgmental place to be heard. You, through the strength imparted to you through Jesus Christ, are able to be that safe place.

Listen & Don’t Act Without Prayer

When we hear that someone has been through something difficult, our first instinct is to try to fix things for them. That instinct itself isn’t bad, it is what leads us to help others. However, we must be very careful HOW we attempt to help. Sometimes we assume jobs that God never wanted us to do. We must pray and fast, and wait on the Lord to tell us what to do in each individual case. For example, if someone has told you something in confidence and they are an adult, it is not your responsibility to tell their parents. They must decide whether or not they are ready to do that. You may also think, “If I could just do this… or that… then things would be better for them.” Be very careful! I am speaking from personal experience when I say that you must be specifically called by God to do whatever it is for that person. Our good intentions can be unwise, but only God sees the outcome of drastic situations. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t help. If someone in an abusive situation needs a place to stay and you have room, it could be that God is calling you to have that person stay with you. However, it could be that He wants you to help them find a different place to stay. You have to be sure what His will in situations like this, because there has to be accountability and safety for them and for you. Remember that anything you do should answer the question, “What is best for them?” instead of “What solution will make me feel better?”

Trust

The concept of trust fights against everything a survivor of abuse has been taught. They have usually be threatened so that they will not talk about what happened to them. Many abusers threaten bodily harm (including murder) and also tell survivors that if they say anything to anyone, that the abuser will be instinctively know. When someone has been manipulative and used power in an abusive way, it creates a tendency for the survivor to believe the abuser automatically. If you have earned the trust of a survivor, make sure you do everything you can not to violate that trust. If you want to talk to a pastor about the situation, first ask the survivor. The only time you should go for help behind their back is if they are sinning in a harmful way against someone else (such as abusing others themselves), you have confronted them about it, and they refuse to get the help they need. You should also reach out to others for help if your friend is suicidal, or involved in self-harm (purging and cutting are two examples).

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

The brain processes traumatic memories much differently than normal memories. Because of this, survivors often seem confused, or like they aren’t sure exactly what happened to them. If the person you are supporting is confused when trying to remember their abuse, remember this is normal. Please, please don’t accuse them of lying. That will set you back in your relationship, and it isn’t actually true. Survivors of abuse may also suffer from Fragmented Memory (where events are split into different memories… locations, feelings, and actions are often disjointed). This condition must be treated by a licensed counselor.

Suggesting Counseling

At some point in every journey as a support person, it is important to tell the person you are not qualified to help them the way they need to be helped. Survivors of abuse need to go through counseling. Forgiving their abuser isn’t enough. It is a great step in the right direction, and it pleases God when we forgive, but counseling is a very important step. You should suggest they find a licensed counselor that has experience counseling survivors of abuse. If the counselor is Christian, that is ideal. However, you cannot make someone get the help they need if they do not want to. Being pushy won’t help, either. Be patient, and continue to support them in a healthy way by being honest, and listening to them when they want to talk about the abuse. If you notice sin on their part, narcissism being the most common, it is ok to point it out in a loving way. Keep in mind that they have to work through their trust issues with God in counseling before there is usually progress in this area.

His Blood Purifies

We know that Jesus’ blood has cleansed us from our sin, but did you know the purification properties of His blood don’t stop there? Jesus’ blood has cleansed us from all sin, not just the sins we commit.
“But if we walk in light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” -1 John 1:7
This means that when we witness atrocious sin through listening to the testimony of survivors, that Jesus’ blood is powerful enough to cleanse us from the sin that our friend experienced in the form of abuse. After I talk with someone and they share hard truths with me, I spend time praying. After I have prayed for them, this is what I pray for me:
“God, I know that your Son’s blood is powerful enough to cleanse me from all sin. I pray that you would bathe me and clean me so that I can continue on now that I have the knowledge of these sins that were committed against your child. Please make me white as snow, and help me not to become bitter toward other people because of the things I have heard. Thank You for your love for me. Keep me close to You, Lord. Amen.”

Spread Awareness

Does this article stir your heart? Do you feel that God wants you to become a support person for survivors of abuse? Awesome! But don’t let that stop with you. This is a huge area of need in the church. Tell your friends what you are learning and do your best to spread awareness. The statistics indicate that 1 in 3 women have experienced sexual abuse, and 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse (although this number is estimated to be underreported due to stigma about being a male survivor). That means that in a group of four girls in your church group of friends, it is likely that one of you have experienced some type of sexual abuse.
I appreciate your heart in reading this article, and I pray that God will bless all of your efforts on behalf of His kingdom and His hurting children.
Sincerely adorned,
Kristin

The Basics: I Can’t Please Everyone

This post is part of The Basics series, where we talk about the basics of our faith in Jesus Christ.

Last night I woke up after having one long, extended nightmare, full of all the difficult relationships I have been through in the last several years. It felt like in the dream, I was being pulled apart. I wanted the freedom to choose things for myself, but several people kept demanding that I do what they said I should do with my life. The dream bothered me so much because it was based on real conflict I have had, some of it recent, some not so recent. It’s embarrassing to admit that I am finally beginning to understand that I can’t please everyone. But that’s what grace is for.

can't please everyone

Compliance

I’m what you would call compliant. That was my coping mechanism for growing up in a verbally abusive environment. What does compliant mean? Let’s look it up:

compliant: adj. complying; obeying, obliging, or yielding, especially in a submissive way.

That sounds right. Compliant people often approach uncomfortable situations out of fear, because in the past their honest feelings have been met with anger or rejection. These three quotes from “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend do a great job of explaining why compliant people, like me, avoid setting healthy boundaries in their lives.

“Because of these fears, we try to have secret boundaries. We withdraw passively and quietly, instead of communicating an honest no to someone we love. We secretly resent instead of telling someone that we are angry about how they have hurt us.”

“Jesus refers to it as the ‘narrow gate.’ It is always easier to go through the ‘broad gate of destruction’ and continue to not set boundaries where we need to. But, the result is always the same: destruction. Only the honest, purposeful life leads to good fruit. Deciding to set boundaries is difficult because it requires decision making and confrontation, which, in turn, may cause pain to someone you love.”

“We can’t manipulate people into swallowing our boundaries by sugarcoating them. Boundaries are a ‘litmus test’ for the quality of our relationships. Those people in our lives who can respect our boundaries will love our wills, our opinions, our separateness. Those who can’t respect our boundaries are telling us that they don’t love our no. They only love our yes, our compliance.”

Boundaries and Rejection

That last quote describes me exactly. I have let other people cross every boundary in my life because I didn’t want to say no. I didn’t want to risk more confrontation. I wanted to please everyone else, and left my family open to abuse because of that. A lack of setting healthy boundaries has proved to be a destructive pattern in my life that I don’t want to continue. But setting boundaries is really, really hard. Once you set the boundary, you have no control over how the other person will react. Here are two more quotes that illustrate why it is difficult to establish boundaries with others, but why it is extremely important.

“Setting limits has to do with telling the truth. The Bible clearly distinguishes between those who love truth and those who don’t. First, there is the person who welcomes your boundaries. Who accepts them. Who listens to them. Who says, ‘I’m glad you have a separate opinion. It makes me a better person.’ This person is called wise, or righteous. The second type hates limits. Resents your difference. Tries to manipulate you into giving up your treasures. Try our ‘litmus test’ experiment with your significant relationships. Tell them no in some area. You’ll either come out with increased intimacy—or learn that there was very little to begin with.”

“A common scenario is this: one spouse doesn’t have good emotional boundaries with the family he grew up in—his family of origin. Then when he has contact with them by phone or in person, he becomes depressed, argumentative, self-critical, perfectionistic, angry, combative, or withdrawn. It is as though he ‘catches’ something from his family of origin and passes it on to his immediate family. His family of origin has the power to affect his new family in a trickle-down effect. One sure sign of boundary problems is when your relationship with one person has the power to affect your relationships with others. You are giving one person way too much power in your life.”

It is depressing to find out that relationships you treasure are not as intimate as you hoped. The feelings of rejection associated with having your boundaries rejected hurts. The pain can be almost unbearable. Thankfully we have Jesus, and He can relate to us in our feelings of rejection because He also was rejected by the very people He was sent to minister to. People He loved dearly. When He went to Nazareth to share that He had come to fulfill the promises in Isaiah 61, their response was rejection.

“So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.” -Luke 4:28-30

I Can’t Please Everyone

Jesus accepted the fact that He couldn’t please everyone. For me, that is a difficult thing to accept, especially if the other person is a Christian. My thought process goes something like this: Well, they read the same Bible I do, they love the same God I love, that means they will be able to respect that I am trying to please God, not them, doesn’t it? But it isn’t that simple. I have to decide right now, who am I more interested in pleasing? Is it others? Is it my own flesh? Or is it actually God? And if it’s God, then what boundaries do I need to establish in my relationships with others so that I can communicate clearly what it is that God wants me to do? That doesn’t mean I impose my convictions on others, but that I expect them not to constantly argue to change what my convictions or non-sinful choices are. If I am in sin, I want to be rebuked, but if one person in my life constantly rebukes me for every choice I make (whether those choices are sinful or not) it is very unlikely that I will actually be able to feel conviction if they are warning me about a specific sin I have committed. My friend Joy (she’s amazing!) described it to me this way, “The best thing to do whenever you are accused of something is to take it straight to the Lord and ask Him if it is true. Always respond in humility. The second thing you need to do after praying is evaluate who it is that has rebuked you. Is this person regularly involved in your life? Do they know what is going on day to day with you? Has anyone else (or several people) talked to you about the same sinful behavior? These are important things to consider when you are trying to figure out what is true when people accuse you of sin. If we start with the assumption that it is very possible we have committed that sin, and then take it to the Lord, it saves so much time and heartache.” I told you she’s amazing. God has really gifted her with helping people understand what is righteous, and what is not.

So there you go, that’s where I am right now in my journey to establishing healthy boundaries in my relationships. It’s not fun, but I know it’s necessary. And now when I encourage other people to create healthy boundaries in their own lives, I understand how difficult it is, and I can be a better support person for them. God is good, and He is so patient with me as I learn how to better glorify Him with my life.

What are some ways that you can establish healthy boundaries in your relationships? Need some ideas? Check out this book for yourself. There is a reason “Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How to Say No” is a best seller, and it’s not because it is full of unhelpful fluff that makes people feel good to read (like so many other books on the market right now). The principles in this book are life-changing because they are based on the Bible.

Let’s pray.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for Your Word. Thank you for people that write books to help us understand Your Word better. Thank you that You have a plan for each of our lives, and that those plans are not dependent on us making others happy. Please help us to be righteous, and to please You above anyone else (including us). Thank You that Jesus understands us when we feel rejected, and that You always love us.

Amen.

I’m praying for you, dear reader! May the Lord strengthen you and encourage you as you seek to do His will.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

Where Was God When I Was Abused? – Part 1

“Where was God when I was abused?” This question is extremely important for Christians that have survived abuse. In fact, it is a life defining question. As you know, I am on a journey to learn how to walk alongside people that have been abused in their quest to find healing. I am blessed to have a friend that has been guiding my journey, and one of the book she lent me is called, “Good News About Injustice,” by Gary A. Haugen. I am only 40 pages in, but the spiritual perspective he shares is invaluable.

where was god when i was abused

God Was There

One thing Haugen points out is that when Jesus ascended into heaven, He left two things behind: the Holy Spirit, and believers. He then goes onto explain that God expects us, you and I, believers of Jesus Christ, to seek justice, rebuke oppressors, and defend those that cannot defend themselves. If survivors and victims of abuse don’t qualify for this protection, I don’t know who does. He also writes that God feels very strongly and speaks specifically about abuse and injustice. Here are the scriptures that Haugen uses to prove this point:

“When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. ‘Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.’” -Isaiah 1:15-17

“For He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy, And will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight.” -Psalms 72:12-14

“He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the secret places he murders the innocent; His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless. He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; He lies in wait to catch the poor; He catches the poor when he draws him into his net. So he crouches, he lies low, That the helpless may fall by his strength. He has said in his heart, “God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see.” Arise, O LORD! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble. Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account.” But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, To repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man; Seek out his wickedness until You find none.” -Psalms 10:8-15

“The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. … “Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. … “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” -Ezekiel 22:25, 27, &30

“So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him That there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.” -Isaiah 59:15-16

Failure in the Christian Body

God has appointed Christians to seek out wickedness, intercede, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow, to stand in the gap! The church is guilty, guilty, guilty of victim blaming and shaming abuse victims into silence, but that is not God’s desire. Where was God when you were abused? He was weeping and asking where all the Christians were who should have stood in the gap for you. Do you see where it says in Psalm 10:15 that we should seek out the wickedness until we find none? That means that Christians must look for those that have been victimized, traumatized, and made helpless. I strongly believe that if we would be more vigilant to obey God’s Word, there would be a greater awareness about abuse. We would also be wise to remember that God’s plan for survivors of abuse is that “He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight,” as we see in Psalm 72:14. The victim blaming and shaming abuse victims into silence is sin and must stop.

Bear One Another’s Burdens

God never commanded us to avoid dealing with the effects of sin if they make us uncomfortable. Instead we are instructed, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” in Galatians 6:1-2. That means I am commanded to consider the sin you committed, or was committed against you, remembering how I feel when I am tempted to sin, or when I am sinned against. Then I am to respond to help you be restored spiritually, in a spirit of gentleness. If that isn’t clear enough, Paul clarifies with this specific command to “bear one another’s burdens,” so that I can fulfill the law of Christ. It’s a law of Jesus that I bear your burdens, and that you bear mine. That doesn’t mean I can dump all of my problems on you. I must always pray and be lead by the Spirit, acting in gentleness and with love.

Those that have been abused and silenced need someone to listen to them as God restores their sense of voice. They cannot share in the burdens of others at that moment. That is ok. This falls under the aspect of God’s perfect timing. God knows when we are brokenhearted and the Bible says during those times He is near to us (Psalm 34:18). During those times He will bring someone to help, to be near as He is near you in a supportive role. It is extremely unfortunate that so many Christians refuse to obey the commandment to bear one another’s burdens because it leaves a huge, gaping wound festering in the body of Christ. Will you pray with me that this will change?

Man Fails, God Does Not

We have to make the distinction between man failing to meet us in our most desperate need and God failing to be there. God is there, God was there, and man’s failure to obey should not discount God’s presence. This is a struggle to realize, and takes time, prayer, and proper support for survivors of abuse to accept.

I’m praying for you, and with you. And if you are standing in the gap to represent someone that has been abused, please don’t grow weary in doing good! You are obeying and honoring God in your actions. If you are the one that needs someone to stand in the gap for them, keep going! It is God’s desire for you to be redeemed from all the oppression and violence. You are precious in His sight!

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

Recognizing Verbal & Emotional Abuse

Today I found Leslie Vernick’s website through a suggestion from April Cassidy (aka The Peaceful Wife), and I was pleasantly surprised to find a concise yet thorough explanation of what emotional and verbal abuse entail. I experienced constant verbal abuse growing up, but I have also experienced it as an adult. During the second occurrence I didn’t realize what was happening, but looking back I can see that all of these things happened to me. This is one of the things God revealed to me during my journey to walk alongside those who have been abused, and it is important for everyone to know.

verbal and emotional abuse

Take it away Leslie

Proverbs says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword” (Proverbs 12:18), and “Wise words bring many benefits” (Proverbs 12:14). “Gentle words are a tree of life, a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4). “Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Proverbs 16:24).

Most often we think of name calling, cursing, profanity and mocking when we think of verbal abuse. However, verbal abuse can also be more subtle or covert. Constant criticism, blaming, discounting the feelings, thoughts and opinions of another, as well as manipulating words to deceive, mislead or confuse someone are also abusive. Proverbs warns us, “The words of the wicked conceal violent intentions” (Proverbs 10:6b).

Emotional abuse can also be characterized by degrading, embarrassing publicly, or humiliating someone in front of family, friends or work associates.

Nonphysical abuse is more than using words to hurt another. Emotional abusers systematically undermine their victim in order to gain control. Abusers weaken others in order to strengthen themselves. They know what matters most to their target (for example, her children, his work, her appearance, her family, his pet, her friends) and they seek to destroy it.

Realizing that I was abused verbally has helped me to cope with an extremely painful situation that has haunted me for years. Just finding the words to articulate that it was abuse, and not something I imagined, has made such a huge impact on my emotional state.

Thank you for your continued prayers as I read my way through different books and articles. I believe God is doing a work, and He is showing me how to help people that have been abused. I know your prayers have kept me from nightmares and panic attacks after hours of reading horrendous testimonies. Please keep praying!

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

In Need of Prayer

I wanted to humbly ask you for prayer. Over the last few months I have had a strong stirring in my heart to learn to walk with people that have been sexually abused or suffered from domestic violence as they journey along the path to healing. When my father-in-law came to visit for Christmas he arrived with several books I had ordered that I believe will create a lasting foundation on Jesus Christ to help people deal with these specific kind of hurts. I know that Jesus can heal the hearts of individuals that have gone through intense suffering, because I have met individuals that have been healed. My goal is to learn how to be sensitive to the specific type of pain, the after affects, and the biblical approach to healing for sexual assault and domestic violence.

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I realize that I am in a spiritual battle as I seek to help people find healing in Jesus Christ through some of life’s most difficult abuses, and I had a dream warning me to that reality a week ago. I don’t want to pretend like this is going to be easy, and I know I will need help.

I am asking, would you pray for me? I am going to need consistent prayer for several weeks as I study four different books (along side of the Bible of course).

Here are the specific prayer needs I have:

-That I would learn everything God has for me on this wisdom and knowledge journey.

-God would protect my children (they are an easy spot for the enemy to attack through school, health, and various other things).

-God would protect my husband and I in our marriage and especially our times of intimacy. It can be really overwhelming to read about rape all day and then readjust to the Biblically beautiful idea of sex between a husband and a wife.

-God would protect the people we minister to on a regular basis. I have often seen that as they are praying for me, the enemy attacks them as well.

-I would be kept by God, remaining pure, as I’m sure many temptations will arise during this time.

-I would guard my heart against discouragement, which has been a difficulty lately due to various circumstances.

Thank you for laboring with me in prayer. I will be posting occasional updates about my progress and different things I am learning.

Love in Him,

Kristin