God is All About HIS Self-esteem

What if God gave us marriage more to make us HOLY than to make us HAPPY? ~ unknown author, taken from Judi Rossi’s book Enhancing Your Marriage

Esteem. The Bible admonishes us not to anything from selfish ambition or vain conceit. As I look back over the expensive efforts I’ve put into my marriage – be they financially, emotionally or energy expensive – I have to wonder – who was I doing this for?

It’s true that I want my marriage to honor God, but what has been my driving motivation? I recently started an online counseling program, to hold me accountable in my eating disorder recovery. I’ve come a long way, but I know that aftercare is essential (been there, done that relapse thing). Within the first two days of work, my mentor has brought one common theme to the forefront:

My motivation for recovery is the determining factor in my success.

John Piper says, “God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him.”

Simply put, God is all about God’s Esteem. My ultimate joy hinges on my full-time employment to Esteem Him. When I esteem my Father above my own will and success He will see to my good. That’s the essence of Romans 8:28.

Through A Woman’s Healing Journey, and Enhancing Your Marriage and through Immanuel Prayer I have discovered that God was absolutely intentional about making me Patrick Kelly’s wife. Therefore, my investment in this marriage and my determination for it’s success must be for God (its Creator’s) glory. If I am simply concerned with my happiness and our compatibility then I should probably have walked away a long time ago. BUT, as I have strive hard toward God and He nudges me closer to my husband I am finding that I am more complete and joyful than I have ever been. Oh the goodness of God!

So, whether I eat or drink (conquering anorexia), whether you wed or choose singleness, whether I do anything at all, it must be for God’s glory if it is to succeed.

Give Yourself the Gift of Hope

God has recently placed me in a new circle of friends. Our relationship began as I found myself in a new deeper pit of pain than I have known before or am equipped to handle. Now, as I step farther and farther out onto stable ground, pulled by their loving hands, I am being given the opportunity to help them and to share that same love and outreach with others who are mired in my same pit of despair.

A Woman’s Healing Journey, along with the resources they offer including counseling, group counseling, books, 12 step groups and prayer has in no uncertain terms saved my marriage, my sanity and my self-respect. Please, please, if you are dealing with the agony of a spouse’s betrayal, go to their website, contact them, let someone help you.

Here’s a bit of news from our Christmas Letter. Be encouraged.

Dear Friends,

As we celebrate this Christmas season, our thoughts and prayers include you. We are deeply aware that for many of you, 2011 has been a year of extreme heartache and loss. Yet for some, there have also been newfound treasures buried in your “trauma chest:” a more meaningful relationship with God; a re-discovery of yourself, as an individual; or a more intimate connection with your husband because, for the first time, you know everything there is to know about him and he’s finally opening his heart to you.

But wherever you are in your healing Journey, we want you to know that we care, and we are working to meet your needs for healing. We’ve rewritten the Partner’s Healing Journey workbook, and the brand new version, Journey to Healing & Joy, is now available in a beautifiul new format. It is the only workbook for partners of sexual addicts that incorporates both the trauma model and the Life Model to help you heal and learn how to keep your “joy cup” full, with or without a man in your life.

And we’ve added new groups to help you continue to heal and grow:
Coach Sarah now facilitates a 52 week a year drop-in Prayer & Share time for ministry wives whose husbands struggle with sexual addiction
Coach Debbie now facilitates non-traditional, Christ-centered 12 step groups
Coach Keisha, who lives abroad, now provides support for women in Europe, Asia, Africa, Austrailia, New Zealand, and parts of Polynesia
Pastor Steve has joined us and now facilitates Life Model groups for recovering men whose unresolved trauma still blocks their ability to emotionally connect with others, including their wives, at a heart-to-heart level
Coach Jodi, now trained and very skilled at Immanuel Processing, facilitates Immanuel Processing sessions with individuals and groups to enable them to heal unresolved trauma
And Coach Christy, Coach Sarah, and Marsha continue to facilitate groups for new women on this side of the world using the new Journey to Healing & Joy workbook.
And Abby has joined us as a volunteer networker, grant writer, and public relations wonder. She is a true gift from God!
From all of us to all of you, may this Christmas season bring new awareness that our God came not as a ruler, but as a baby, laid in a manger, so that he might walk among us and die for our transgressions so we can know forgiveness, new hope, new joy, and new life with him forever.

Merry Christmas,

Sarah, Debbie, Keisha, Christy, Jodi, Steve & Marsha


Using A Broken Body and Bloody Heart

I am so broken. In many ways, I feel like I need to set myself on a shelf somewhere in the corner of life and wait until I’ve healed. Once my cracks are glued together, my bruises faded and I look presentable again – then, then I can serve. Surely God has no use for a weepy, tattered Christian. Surely God has more dynamic, charismatic individuals who can make a deeper, splashier, more memorable impact on the world.

My marriage stings, my ego smarts. I wrestle with compulsions, pride, addictions, envy, loneliness, fear and a myriad other maladies that may not be obvious this very minute. Due to my foibles, I was stunned and not a little nervous when God began calling me.

Recently, I finished a round of group therapy for wounded spouses. It was a conference call setting. I have only met one of the three women that I shared with over those 12 weeks. Each one of us has similar stories. We have each experienced similar offenses. Each one of us felt impotent, needy and unqualified to handle our own pain, much less minister to the needs of anyone else. That’s where God surprised us.

The group moderator wisely guided our conversations using provocative questions and homework. Then, she used us to teach each other.

“D,” how would you advise Abby in this situation?

Quite honestly, when the group began, I listed to D and J tell the summary of their stories. Not in a million years did I think I would learn from them – they were just as broken as I was!

At the same time, I began taking a Bible study at church called, Enhancing Your Marriage. My first impulse was to keep my head down and avoid having to admit the fragility of my marriage. Two days after our first class, the group leader called me and asked if I would facilitate a small group. The Holy Spirit insisted that I should accept the responsibility.

I met the six other women the following week, and discovered that their individual relationships were thriving compared to my own. Then the Holy Spirit began to insist that I share my vulnerabilities, my weaknesses, my pain and His sustaining grace in the midst of it all. I hope that I have been of some encouragement to the other girls, but certainly their responses to my role as small group leader have challenged and graced me.

That’s what God does. He pares us down, whittles us and refines us until we feel like there is nothing left. When we are at our weakest, then He places us in the most strategic places.

Remember the simplest definition of a mentor is “advisor.” Verbally, I am in no place to offer advise to any other broken human being. But perhaps, when I am weakest – willing to shut my own mouth – God admonishes and encourages His people through me. Praise the Lord!

P.S. If your own marriage is struggling due to the offense of a spouse, there is hope. There is tomorrow, there is grace and a future and a hope. If you need help, please consider this resource: A Woman’s Healing Journey.