A Christmas Message from Dr Carol

I love Christmas. I love the lights and decorations, the music, the food. I love giving presents to the people I care about. I love seeing the wonder in our grandchildren’s eyes on Christmas morning.

But I didn’t always feel this way about Christmas. There were many Christmases I was alone, sometimes because of work, and sometimes for other reasons. There were times hearing “Silent Night” would bring me to tears. The apparent joy around me made my internal loneliness all the more painful.

Perhaps you are in that place this Christmas.  …..

Watch this week’s video for a new way to think about celebration, especially the celebration of Christmas:

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When God-Talk or Religion Is Part of Abuse

When God-Talk or Religion Is Part of Abuse

When religion, church, God-talk, or spirituality is included as an aspect of abuse it becomes even more damaging. It’s bad enough that your body and soul are hurt in the process; it’s even worse when your spirit is abused and assaulted at the same time.

The numbers of people affected by domestic violence, sexual abuse, or physical abuse is high. And there’s a better than one-in-four chance that one of them is you.

Although there are few good studies, by the raw numbers domestic violence and child abuse is not much different among Christians than among non-Christians. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. Sadly, a Bible on the table or attending church doesn’t prevent the violence that too often happens behind closed doors.

When the abuser uses spiritual jargon to justify the abuse it adds a further dimension to the healing that is needed. The abuser may be a priest, minister, or leader in the church while becoming violent at home. The offender may use Bible verses to justify the abuse. Scripture, church, prayer, and thoughts about God become all mixed in with the emotions and pain of the abuse.

When religion is a component of abuse or violence, it creates extra challenges for healing:

  1. Your picture of God becomes distorted. Whether or not you intellectually believe in a good God, your feelings and unconscious responses to and about God are altered. Part of you sees God as hurtful and abusive too.
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MEMO: Getting Past Your Past

Have you ever felt really stuck? I don’t mean you’re simply at a loss for words when writing a business proposal or a school assignment. I mean something big has its claws in your brain and you feel like you just can’t move. No matter how hard you try you can’t get rid of the baggage that is weighing you down and holding you back.

That “something big” could be any number of things. It might be:

  • a troubled or abusive childhood
  • domestic violence
  • a history of mental illness
  • an addiction to alcohol, drugs, pornography, or gambling
  • a series of failed relationships
  • sexual indiscretions
  • a divorce
  • a business failure
  • an abortion
  • the death of a loved one

As Patrick Dempsey says to Reece Witherspoon in the movie Sweet Home Alabama, “So you have a past. Who doesn’t?”

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How to Find the Freedom of Forgiveness

How to Find the Freedom of Forgiveness

You’ve been wronged. Badly. Someone stole a lot of money from you. Your spouse cheated on you. Someone told horrible lies about you. You were physically, sexually, or emotionally abused. You were purposefully passed over in a business deal. A loved one was killed.

There comes a time after every such horrible wrong where you must make a decision. And it’s yours alone to make. You have only two choices. Do you:

  • Remain hurt and miserable, or
  • Do the hard work of forgiveness.

Remember, it’s your choice. Before you quit reading, let me acknowledge the depths of your pain. I may not know exactly where you hurt: pain is a very private thing. But I can give you the respect you deserve and need. I only ask that you think about what I have to say.

Forgiveness sets you free. It does much more for the one doing the forgiving than the one needing to be forgiven.

Forgiveness is also one of the hardest things for most people to do. There’s a sweet misery in nursing your wounds. Having been hurt is a wonderful excuse for all kinds of bad behavior.

Forgiveness is a process much more than a one-time event. It’s been misunderstood and made light of far too much. Here’s what forgiveness is, what it is not, and how to do it.

Forgiveness is:

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What Is God’s View of Healing?

Presence of GodLike everything else about Him, God’s view of healing is much bigger than ours.

In asking some questions about healing on my social media pages, I received an uncommonly large number of responses. It’s clear we hunger for God’s healing touch. And how much we need Him!

Our world is one where people get sick and die. Every one of us. Sometimes that happens quickly, sometimes slowly. But no one can escape.

Throughout history people have sought healing from sickness and disease in many ways. The God we serve has a lot to say about healing. Throughout the Old Testament God presents Himself as One who is the source of healing.

Then Jesus comes on the scene, and a flood of healing follows everywhere He goes. Some of the people Jesus healed were suffering the results of their own sin. Others were suffering completely unrelated to any sin. Jesus was not nearly as concerned with where sickness came from as He was with relieving suffering. Jesus had only one attitude toward sickness: He is against it!

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