What to do with Pain as a Widow: 2 Critical Keys

What to do with Pain as a Widow: 2 Critical Keys

There’s no way to make death and grief OK. Death is an aberration in God’s universe, and every time we meet it there is suffering. We try all kinds of things to delay it, ignore it, and pretend we can evade it, but not one of us can escape death. Death hurts – a lot.

Grief is many things; loss, loneliness, anxiety, stress, anger, depression, exhaustion, and so much more. Grief comes in waves, and each one is different than the one before. If you’ve lost someone close to you, even caring friends are unlikely to fully appreciate its deep and long-lasting impact on your mind, heart, and life.

I think the best word to describe the impact of death on those of us left behind is pain. What do you do with the pain as a widow? The death of my husband Al last year wounded me deeply. And yet I’m still standing. Some days are harder than others, but I keep going. Some have asked how I can do so. It’s more than simply knowing God, although that’s important.

Several things have been helpful in my grief journey, but there’s one thing I’ve come to know that has made the most difference. And it is this:

It’s not supposed to not hurt.

You could take out the double negative and it would still be true; this is supposed to hurt. This is not OK. And when we as Christians try to make it OK we cripple our own hearts and miss out on the empowerment God would like to gift us with.   Tweet that.

For those of us going through grief it often seems that if we could just make the pain go away everything would be alright. But that’s not what God promises, at least not yet.

And it’s not even true. If the pain would magically go away, so would the memories, the love, the gift of that person in your life. That is true even if the relationship also included suffering.

Pain means we care. Pain means we loved. Pain means this is not the way God intended our lives and the world to be. Pain means our love was deep, our lives are different because of that loved one’s place in it, and their time on this earth changed us forever. Those are good things. Would we really not want to hurt at the death of someone we cared about so deeply?

It’s not supposed to not hurt.

So what do you do with the pain? How do you go on? Can you even go on?

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7 Steps to Freedom from Pornography and Compulsive Masturbation

7 Steps to Freedom from Pornography and Compulsive Masturbation

How do you find freedom from compulsive sexual behavior? What does it look like? What does it take to get there?

I’ve been overwhelmed by your response to my post last week about Dealing with Masturbation and Pornography as a Christian. I’ve heard from men and women all over the world who are crying out for freedom. And I’m here to tell you that God has a way out! There is a pathway to freedom! And that’s what this post is about.

This is not for you if you wonder whether what you’re doing is wrong. It’s not for you if pornography and/or masturbation is not your struggle. It’s not for you if you think maybe you should “cut down” on your consumption of compulsive sexuality.

But if the Holy Spirit has put His finger on this part of your life and said, “This right here; it needs to stop. Let Me have this!”, then this post is for you.

This is for you if you’re sick and tired of the bondage, the hiding, the shame and the guilt. It is for you if you’re ready to do whatever it takes to find freedom. It is for you if you’re ready to fight with everything in your being to experience Christ’s victory in this area of your life.

You cannot be successful in this journey by going half-way. If you’re not all in, you’ll fail. Jesus has freedom available for you, but you cannot do your own thing in one area and expect to win a battle with compulsive sexual behavior.

This means war!

So pick up your sword, get furiously angry at your bondage and the one holding you there, and get ready to do the work ahead of you. As Mel Gibson when he played William Wallace, find the scream in the bottom of your soul and cry out with all your might,

FREEDOM!

7 Steps to Freedom

Here’s what it takes to get there.

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Being WITH is Not Enough: What Comes After “God With Us”

Being WITH is Not Enough: What Comes After “God With Us”

Mother and DaughterJesus came to be “God With Us.” He responded to our hopeless situation not by shouting truth at us, but by coming to be With Us. And when we connect with someone who is hurting we too must be with them instead of preaching at them.

Several of you responded to my article about “God With Us” last week.

But being With Us was just the beginning for Jesus. And it should be just the beginning for us.

The people who encountered Jesus could not help but be impacted by Him. His very presence called them to a different kind of life. And when they stopped long enough to hear His words their hearts burned within them. (See Luke 24:32)

Yes, the outcasts, the sick, the poor, those nobody else wanted were drawn to Jesus. He healed them, touched them, loved them, gave them hope. But being with them didn’t mean Jesus became like them and stayed with them in their misery. He called them to something more.

And He had something for those who were not so sick or broken. They too felt the call to something more, something perhaps harder and more dangerous than they ever imagined they could be a part of, something exhilarating and profound and alive.

Once Jesus is with us, He leads us out. He doesn’t simply soothe us in our brokenness, assuring us everything will be OK. Far from it! Instead, He goes before us leading the way to the greater thing He has called us to. (See John 10:4)

First He is With Us. Then He leads us out.

The order is important. We will not, cannot, follow Him until He is With Us.

But once He is With Us, we are called to follow Him. We cannot, dare not, stay the same. He calls us to a life of transformation, character growth, maturity, meaning, purpose, and service.

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God With Us: When “Truth” Doesn’t Matter

God With Us: When “Truth” Doesn’t Matter

ConnectedSomeone has hurt you – badly. Or you face a really tough decision. Or something happens to rock you to your very core. You take the risk and tell one of your church friends, and they respond, “I’ll be praying for you.”

And you want to SCREAM!

It’s not that praying is bad. It’s good. Very good. But it’s like they expect offering a prayer takes them off the hook. They can feel they’ve done their Christian duty while you’re left dying under the crushing load.

When your spouse walks out you don’t need someone to quote Scripture to you. When you just found out your son or daughter is sexually active with a same-sex partner you don’t need to be encouraged to go to church. When you just heard the word “cancer” from your doctor an “I’ll pray for you” doesn’t go very far. When your spouse or child just died a pat on the back with a “God will be with you” is just empty.

I’m on a bit of a rant today. I’ve recently been touched by two different Christian friends whose marriages were lost through no obvious fault of their own. I’ve wrestled with my own healing from grief after the loss of my husband Al a few months ago. And I’ve heard a few truly ugly stories from you, my readers, about what look like truly impossible situations.

At such times the standard Christian platitudes just don’t work. It’s not that they’re wrong; it’s that they’re not enough.

One of my friends was tearful after sharing a moment of his pain, and I responded: “If the gospel can’t deal with this, then what good is it?!”

God With Us

What is the kingdom of God really all about? Why did Jesus come here? Why are we trying to live this Christian life anyway?

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7 Steps to Dealing with BIG Marriage Problems

7 Steps to Dealing with BIG Marriage Problems

You could handle the little things, or so you tell yourself. You could pick up his dirty clothes now and then, or overlook the times she forgot to tell you about a purchase she’d made. But this time it’s really BIG. Your spouse has messed up badly. It’s all you can think about, and you’re not sure you can live with the consequences.

We’re talking about such BIG marriage problems that your relationship is truly threatened. Little ongoing frustrations may eat away at you, but those are for another time. This is about the BIG stuff.

  • You find pornography on your spouse’s computer
  • You discover your spouse has been abusing drugs or alcohol – again
  • Your spouse has lied to you about something big – a huge financial mistake, telling you they were one place when they were somewhere else, etc.
  • A fight with your spouse becomes physical and you felt truly afraid
  • You find evidence your spouse is having an affair

Your mind is swirling. How could they do this to you? Shouldn’t you have seen the red flags earlier? Aren’t you supposed to forgive people, even your spouse, when they mess up? How could you ever do that? Hurt, confusion, anger, fear, despair, guilt, shame – it’s overwhelming.

One article such as this can’t tell you everything you need to know about dealing with such BIG marriage problems. But I can give you a framework for the questions to ask and the ways to think about what to do next. You can use these steps to get clarity about your marriage situation and about the actions you may need to take.

If Your Spouse has Messed Up Badly:

  1. What’s really going on here?

No sugar-coating the truth; it’s time to face reality.

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