Dealing with Abusive Men

Yet one more blog post from a favorite pastor/blogger… I found much comfort here inside my own personal sea of sin-wasted relationships.

“If they come again crying for forgiveness, this in no way obligates you to allow them back into your life where they have caused so much damage. If they are truly repentant, they will rejoice in salvation and understand the depth and depravity of their sin, and will understand and respect your desire to be left alone as a just consequence of their sin which they committed. But on the other hand, if they are not truly repentant, but merely seeking another entrance to cause you more damage, they will accuse you of hard-heartedness. They will get as many of the gullible and untaught on their side as they can. They will seek to manipulate you with their tears. They will continue cause you as much grief as you allow them to.

Put them in God’s hands, and leave them there.”

My Only Comfort

Thoughts on Psalm 129, from a sermon preached at First Reformed Church, February 9, 2014.

Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say:
2 Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.
3 The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.
4 The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.
5 Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.
6 Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up:
7 Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.
8 Neither do they which go by say, The blessing of the LORD be upon you: we bless you in the name of the LORD. (Psa 129:1-8 KJV)

This is a psalm about evil…

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Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me – The New York Times

Durham, N.C. — ON a Thursday morning a few months ago, I got a call from my doctor’s assistant telling me that I have Stage 4 cancer. The stomach cramps I was suffering from were not caused by a faulty gallbladder, but by a massive tumor.
I am 35. I did the things you might expect of someone whose world has suddenly become very small. I sank to my knees and cried. I called my husband at our home nearby. I waited until he arrived so we could wrap our arms around each other and say the things that must be said. I have loved you forever. I am so grateful for our life together. Please take care of our son. Then he walked me from my office to the hospital to start what was left of my new life. 
Read more here: Death, the Prosperity Gospel…

Hot Mess Express-Natalie Greenfield

I’ve lived with PTSD too. I love this lady, Natalie. I admire her courage, and she speaks here for me. Sometimes I wade through a hard season and barely come through with my soul intact. Then I remember how ordinary daily steadfastness counts as quiet victory. 

‘ I’ve really missed blogging. It’s been a while. I’ve started and stopped several posts in the last three months. Life has been chaotic in too many different ways to list here, and I’ve learned to recognize when I need to take a step back. Or when my mind is such a tornado of thoughts that nothing useful would likely come from blogging anyway. I can feel that season coming to a close and I’ll have more to say soon. Life is nearly kind enough to let this be regular again; to let me be my normal, overly-communicative, super vulnerable self. ‘

Read more here:

Some things I did not choose

I never asked to live in Oklahoma.

I never asked to stay put, either. 

I never asked for two complicated children.

I never asked for an exceptional marriage.

I never asked for PTSD.


I never chose to join a cult.

I never chose life on a battlefield. 

I never chose the power to hurt others.

I never chose a trashed reputation

I never chose avoidance and insults. 

I never chose severe isolation


I miss our partnership. 

I miss my friends. 

I miss my family.

I miss feeling safe.


I used to rest. 

I used to laugh.

I used to sing.

I used to please people.

I used to feel valued.

I used to warrant respect.

I used to speak freely

I used to love openly, honestly.

I used to live surrounded by forgiveness. 

I used to count on friends.

I used to hold a purpose.

I used to know where I was headed.

I used to decide. 

I used to enjoy life with kids.

I used to revel in marriage.

I used to host all kinds of people.

I used to feel satisfied I’d done some good now and then.


I did not choose to tangle with depression.

I did not choose neglect.


I gradually quit thinking.

I gradually quit growing.

I gradually quit loving life. 


I hate living within a battlefield.

I hate parenting in loneliness.

I hate misogyny, and chauvinism.

I hate denying myself food.

I hate anonymity.


I buried my gifts.

I buried my reputation. 

I buried a child.



I buried myself.








Give and Take

Two kinds of people roam this earth. Givers and takers…. It’s difficult to tell one from the other. Human nature dictates we all prefer to give. At least we like to be SEEN as givers. 

The two tendencies work on a spectrum. Matter of fact, it’s appropriate to take at times. It’s right to give at other times. In any particular scenario two people may both give and take: each in their own measure and their own timing. 

Very few people openly take and take. But behind the veneer some people take too much. Others actually give too much… often under the pretense it’s the safe way to act in every situation. 

On a blog about losing, inside the study of Godly loser-ship, we need a post about the right and good give and take required in all our relationships. Danger arises when one person takes and takes… especially when they cloak greed behind a calculated hand of generosity toward others. It’s equally dangerous when one gives and gives, cloaking lust for approval behind the sharing of things which never ought to be shared with someone else .

A community engaged in Christian generosity will give to, and take from, one another as Jesus did. 

True givers don’t tell about it. It’s not necessary to hide, but they’re free from compulsion to display. Takers give to be seen doing it. They might ‘give in secret’ if it strategically works to their credit as righteousness… but the sum total amounts to cloaking their true identity–takers.

True givers give without conditions. Their open-handedness by-passes gratitude, recognition, power, or even requited love for the blessing of giving to another. They keep commitments even when it hurts, and often they see to others’ needs before their own.

Takers tend to obligate recipients in a number of ways. They game giving for the best return. Takers may let go of material stuff in order to serve their own hunger for relationship, control, or social esteem. They can be seen handing out scraps, seconds and leftovers for the best others have to offer.  So they relinquish the less-coveted for things they desire most. Takers stay perfectly poised with a measured generosity. They never stray too far and only manage pouring themselves to a point. 

Why make this point? 

Check out the three little words in my subtitle… ‘for my sake’. God calls us to sacrifice ourselves upon the true altar of devotion to Christ–not just any altar to man, resident in his own heart. God prospers us most when we discern who exactly we’re dying for… it’s nuanced. People without Jesus often live as habitual takers, and yet it’s right at times for us to pour ourselves out to win them. 

Some apart from Christ outdo us in generosity. Perhaps we ought to learn from them, too. However, we need to guard against a graceless payback of indebtedness. Are we giving for Jesus’ sake, or pouring our lives down a rathole on a stone-hard heart-altar which only imagines it’s for Christ.

So, this will be my last caution. 

When we lose ourselves for Jesus, our sacrifice satisfies the other because Jesus becomes their sufficiency. When our hard-hearted so-called brethren insist we ‘die’ over and over endlessly it’s time we see their too-sufficient soul can never be satisfied. 


Faithful Friends

From Proverbs 27 this morning…


Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”



We’re a society full of our own sense of wrongs, victimhoods, and hurts. I’m an advocate for victims, so I’m not setting aside valid complaint in this post, but defining it.

We live in a world of hurt. We also live in a world full of sinful harm. As Christians, we need to see between these two. 

Hurt involves either small insult or offense of the ‘turn the other cheek’ variety. In the hands of a loving soul, hurt may be the only path to actual healing within a community. 

I left a fellowship because I desperately needed to forsake their pain-avoidance-sickness. I grew sick. My friendships were sick, if I had any. My marriage sickened too. They refused to practice faithful wounding of anyone in pursuit of true healing. This strong sub-current within my church community studiously avoids hurt at all cost, even to the long-term harm of everyone around them.  For these, to rebuke remains the highest form of offense. Sucking up a very real sinful status quo between two people seems more the norm. The deep cracks of avoidance and resentment pervade this institution. 

They ‘strain at a gnats(hurts) while swallowing camels(harm)’. 

We often live by a comparative standard of ‘normal’. If our dysfunction seems a bit less than average, or better than the guy next to us, we decide we’re okay. We need to pursue health instead. I learned this from a talk on abuse by my friend, Peter Roise. 

Avoiding all pain is not health. It’s harm. To ourselves and others. 

Harm is sin. Scripture says we can avoid it. After all there’s no temptation given us where God’s not provided an escape. Likewise he sets before us healthy hurt as a path we must walk through. We sin by denying ourselves the discomfort required to heal properly.


Faithfulness heals. Friendship heals too. 

 When we bypass healing hurt, we deny true friendship and faith. 


What sort of wounds do we inflict? What ought we accept? 

A true friend will faithfully wound and embrace hurt in order NOT to harm another. Faithful wounds equal the necessary hardships leading to health. If someone avoids hurt, while causing harm to others…. not friendly. Not faithful either. 


Steer clear.


Peace. Grace. 




A loss of trust…

So they’ve broken my trust. 

I operate  responsibly as a trusted member of several communities. I’ve been successfully involved in the highest levels of leadership, both in the workplace and in the church. I’m capable of serious discretion when its called for.

A caricature of christianity insists we ‘trust’ everyone. 

Authoritarianism divides loyalty and trust between leaders and followers. Leaders deserve implicit trust and are given plenty of reassuring information to work with. Followers prove themselves far more torturously, and with very little help making sense of anything. 

Some want us to treat everyone as if they’re trustworthy until officially deemed not. This sounds very American. Innocent until proven guilty. 

So we live on a continuum with people who we trust more or less… depending. And this may be wise.

If I’m honest, I know I’m sinful. And if I sin, obviously sometimes you cannot trust me. 

In our quest to be ‘wise as serpents, but harmless as doves’ we make mistakes. We shut out people who desperately NEED our confidence. We open our mouths to those who exploit us. If we’re paranoid or suspicious we withhold burden-lifting information others need to carry our sin. They fail. This muliplies mistrust on all sides. And it’s our own doing. Not theirs. 

Spending trust on others only builds trust. It’s better to invest others with information. This breeds initiative. 
Some must be handled with care. but God mandates expensive trust in a world of sinners. He deserves this. When we trust others, even the untrustworthy, we trust God himself. The God of Joseph, and Daniel, and Jesus, and Paul. 
And if I hide myself … I deny God. Simple