The Long-term Effects of Evangelism

My husband grew up in Guatemala. He’s not verbose, but I love to hear my mother-in-law tell stories about his younger years.

When he was less than ten years old, he got see monkeys swinging from tree branches. He climbed barefoot up coconut trees and tossed the plump, hairy fruits to the ground. Then squeezing one between his feet, he learned to crack it open and suck out the refreshing milk.

It’s funny how our minds work. Quickly, my thoughts travel from her story to find similarities between it and Christ’s sacrifice for the salvation of man.

Isaiah 53:5 says, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

Jesus body was broken for us (Luke 22:19), just like that coconut. His death, the breaking of His body purchased new life for those who believe in Him. Believers take communion, eat the bread representing His body and drink the wine depicting His blood, and remember His death and resurrection. We receive life and nourishment through Him.

My husband’s family lived in Guatemala for the purpose of evangelism. His dad, a doctor, spent long hours caring for the physically sick. He delivered babies, treated parasites, closed wounds, cleaned infections, pulled teeth and more. My mother-in-law taught the children and ministered to village women through compassion and companionship.

These stories and their related truths came flooding back to me when I read this story from a distributor of The Pocket Testament League’s gospels.

“We recently returned from Guatemala where we used the Spanish version of the Gospel of John to spread the Gospel there. I believe our team distributed nearly 200. We were able to witness to many people using these as well as secure some eternities. It was awesome!”

Sharing the Gospel, evangelism, is so much more than categorical mission work. It’s more than visiting a strange land or learning a new language. It’s more than preaching. It’s even more than providing medical care and basic necessities. Sharing Jesus creates sisters and brothers; it demolishes cultural lines and physical differences.

Today, my husband’s family stays in touch with many of the people they served in Guatemala as well as some of the missionaries they served alongside. They made

life-time friends, and more than that, eternal friends.

Sometimes, a missionary or evangelist never gets to see the fruits of their labor. Also, many times, like my husband’s family, they have to move on and leave behind those they led to Jesus. But that’s what I love about Jesus: Everything He does is perfect and eternal.

The relationship that began with a Gospel from The Pocket Testament League, or the friendship that began over a shared, delicious coconut, or one that started when a doctor treated a broken arm – these relationships are eternal. They take the living water that Jesus gave and offer it to others, refreshing them too.

The love that Jesus showed to us is irresistible. We must, as believers, live intentionally to share that love with others, both practically and verbally. The reward is limitless. First, we receive the privilege of obedience to God.

“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15

Second, sharing the Gospel creates deep, satisfying, lasting friendships, those who can be counted upon to pray for us, encourage us and hold us accountable. The apostle Paul said of Timothy, a young man whom he very likely led to Christ:

“But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.” Phil. 2:19-22

Lastly, the more that we speak of Jesus, the closer we draw to Him and the more intimately we know Him and He will make our joy complete. (John 16:24)

Please visit The Pocket Testament League for resources to help you boldly share your faith.

Missing Peace, Chapter 15: “Failure to Drive”

Three months at Remuda set me behind the power curve of normal teenage life. Add to the list of my insufficiencies the fact that I celebrated my 16th birthday in a hospital and now I was two months late taking my driver’s test.

Dad had instated a rule long before any of his girls turned 16: No one gets her driver’s license until she learns to drive a standard transmission vehicle.

Months before, in November, I had mastered the clutch, taken driver’s ed and passed the test with flying colors. Dad remained true to his promise and drove me to take the written and practical tests the first weekend after I got home.

“Are you ready?” he asked as we shut the door from the house to the garage.

“I hope so,” I replied. “But I’m happy to let you back out of the garage anyway.” I grinned sheepishly.

My only pre-license driving disaster occurred as I tried to back the truck out of the storage shed. The passenger mirror caught on the garage door frame, bending it backward and leaving a long scar in the paint. The kicker was that Dad had just sold the vehicle and the new owners were on their way to pick it up.

“My pleasure.”

Dad put the white Honda Civic, the truck’s replacement, in gear and released the emergency brake. He backed out, then climbed out into the sunshine to trade me seats. I settled into the driver’s seat and took a deep breath. I don’t think I exhaled, feeling the tension inside me mount like an overfilled balloon.

Our driveway was almost a quarter mile long, gravel, framed by end-to-end railroad ties.  A few years earlier, I had helped Daddy lay all those railroad ties. He was a big do-it-yourselfer. His determination and ingenuity employed my sisters and me quite a bit, and served us well.

It was another mile or so down the main dirt road before we came to the first turn onto pavement. Highway 86 was the artery of my family’s social life. It connected our small town of Perry to Stillwater where we went to church, shopped at the nearest Wal-Mart, and where I attended Trinity Christian School.

I pulled into the parking lot at the testing location. It was near the airport and my friend Amy’s house, so I felt comfortable having been there dozens of times before. I parked in front of the nondescript brick building and followed Dad, ducking under his arm as he held the door. Within seconds, I was seated at an old fashioned school desk facing the first test I had seen in months.

“That was easy!” I wiped my sweaty hands on my shorts as soon as I finished. “How long do you think we’ll have to wait to take the driving part?”

“Let’s go, young lady.”

I turned to see a hefty, brusque woman already glaring at me impatiently. She had ridiculously long, artificial nails painted dark blue. A strand of gray, messy hair was caught between her face and glasses.

I tried to be cheery, “Hi.” Wordlessly, she handed me the keys, “Thanks.”

I backed out of the parking lot, drove through Amy’s neighborhood and parallel parked on the side of the road between two trash cans. The woman never said a word, but made a few indecipherable notations on a legal pad. I focused on the road and tried not to look over at her scratchings.

Finally, she pointed in the direction of the testing facility. Relief flooded me. I was almost done. One hundred yards from the entrance, a tiny hill, really a bump, was the only thing between me and my last left turn.

As my front tires crested the bump, I saw a pickup truck coming toward us. Quick calculations ran through my head, The speed limit is only 30 mph, plenty of time. Deftly, I turned the wheel left and coasted into a parking space.

Dad wasn’t waiting outside. He’d found the most recent copy of AOPA (Associate of Private Aviators) among the sparse reading material left for bored parents in the waiting room. Nervously, I unbuckled and stepped from the car.

“Nice job.” The woman still couldn’t smile. “You maintained the correct speed limit and parallel parked beautifully.”

My hopeful smile began to stretch into a sloppy, deliriously happy grin.

“However, you should have waited for that truck to pass before you turned into the testing facility. I’m going to recommend you come back in two weeks and take the test again.”

My heart crashed through my feet and dissolved on the pavement between me and this terribly mean woman. Humiliated, I accepted the piece of paper where she had written her suggestions. Through my swelling tears of disappointment, I saw a paper on which she had scrawled a big, fat “F” across my best efforts.

I hated to go inside the building. I knew Dad would read my face before I had a chance to explain. Fortunately, he noticed us talking and came outside.

“Mr. Blades, your daughter did very well except for one mistake. As I told her, I am going to ask her to come back and test again in two weeks.” With that, she shuffled inside. I noticed the large sweat stain on the back of her shirt as she left. It disgusted me.

Daddy was kind enough to accept the keys and drive home in silence. How I hated to go home and explain to the rest of the family that I had failed.

Missing Peace, Chapter 14: Home Coming

I failed to gain the prescribed weight. The penalty: Extension.

“Abby, it’s for your own good,” Keri had tried to console me when we hung up with my parents. “And it’s only thirty days. You’ve already been here twice that long. It will go quickly.”

“You’ve said that a million times about a million things,” I stormed at her. “And it’s always when you are telling me something I don’t want to hear. My parents don’t want me to come home and you know it.”

“That’s not true. In fact, it’s expensive for you to continue to stay at Remuda. They’re doing this because they love you.

“The chances of you relapsing, of never achieving a healthy weight are extremely high if you leave now. It would be twice as hard to eat 3500 calories a day at home in your normal environment. By waiting a little longer and sending you home at a maintenance weight, I can be more sure that you will work your aftercare program. By the way, let’s talk about that.”

Keri and I mapped out a thorough aftercare program. I interviewed half a dozen therapists over the phone. Finally, I settled on Hoyt Morris, an eating disorder specialist in Edmond, Oklahoma. He also led a support group and worked with a reputable dietician.

I tied up a lot of loose ends in those extra 30 days. On May 7th, I boarded a plane bound for Oklahoma, still one pound shy of my goal.

“I can do it, I promise!” I had begged and bargained.

Against his better judgment, willingly ignoring all my past failed promises, Dad agreed that I should come home. The whole family welomed me at the airport.

“Welcome home, Abby!” Rachelle shouted waving a sign decorated in pink and green crayon.

I spotted Jennifer first as I came down the ramp. Even though summer had yet to char the earth with Oklahoma’s annual drought, her skin was already deeply bronzed from hours of outdoor play. Dad was next to her, hard to miss at his height and wearing a black and orange Ditch Witch ball cap.

The generous, happy reception drew the attention of everyone near our gate. Anorexic thoughts flickered in the back of my mind.

Are they doing this all for show? Do I look bloated? I wonder what Mom’s planning for dinner, will it fit my exchanges?

I banished the intrusive thoughts. Canned, one-liners of truth, my new tools of recovery, were all I had to fight back.

I am loved by God and my family. 

I’m beautiful just the way I am. 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

The last one I had known forever. It was only truth I actually believed. The road ahead was long, my ambition to stay well, still shaky.

But I knew that Christ was in me. I knew that He was going to have to do this because I still wasn’t sure I wanted to.

 

 

How to Have the Perfect Body

“Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe.” Mark Victor Hansen

If I’m really honest, for much of my life, my actions have indicated a belief system that I’m loathe to admit. During the years I battled anorexia, my behavior proved that I believed if I were thin, if I were the most athletic, if I had most willpower to resist food, if I had the perfect body, then I would be happy. On the other side of those painful years, I can confess to you – I had it all wrong.

I just returned from a two week visit with my family. The first seven days were spent with my in-laws. Mike and Julie are vivacious people, ravenous for the joys of life and abundantly generous with all their blessings.

Within hours of our arrival, they were taking us out to lunch. For the duration of the week, we feasted on gourmet coffee, ice cream, homemade dinners and market fresh veggies. We dined on the patio, in the living room, in front of the television and at favorite restaurants.

My in-laws bear the brand of the truly happy. Their faces are ruddy and sun-kissed. Their arms are well employed. Both Mike and Julie are genuinely healthy, brimming with life.

I had it all wrong. Having the perfect body doesn’t make one happy. Finding joy in Christ, in relationships, seeking and exploiting the pleasures of life, leads to a healthy, happy body.

For the second half of our trip, my husband and I visited my sisters, their husbands and my one-year-old niece in Texas. Toting Kylie around, waking her in the morning, cuddling with her on the floor and chasing her around the living room obstacles brought me unsurpassed joy. But what fascinated me the most was her insatiable interest in everything I ate.

“Bite, bite!” She pleaded. No matter what was in my hand or where I was eating, she found me and asked, “Try, try?”

In the course of my visit, Kylie and I shared protein shakes, hotdogs, frozen yogurt, iced tea, juice, chocolate bars, jicama, pretzels, cheese, apples and oatmeal. Never once did  she pause before devouring a treat and wonder, “How will this affect my body? Will it make me fat? Did I exercise enough today?”

I was also mesmerized by Kylie’s pleasure with her own body. She was pleased that her fingers can grasp my hand, thrilled that her arms can fully encircle my neck. Kylie was so happy that she is finally long enough to reach the doorknobs and all of the cans in her mother’s pantry.

I had it all wrong. A perfect body will never bring me lasting happiness. But happiness, contentment with the good gift of life that God has given me, that will ultimately result in the body that God perfectly, uniquely created for me.

“Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe.” Proverbs 17:22

You can read this and other posts of mine at www.havenjournal.com

Missing Peace, Chapter 9, “Flight”

“You will never see me again!” I screamed. I knew I was running out of time as we approached the airport. “I’ll die there! I’m never coming home.”

“Abby, stop. You’re getting yourself all worked up and we have to go inside now.” My father parked the car in the dismal parking garage. Ignoring my residual choking on tears, he got out of the car and began to pull out the suitcases, careful not to get any grease on his jeans.

Daddy always looked sharp, one more thing I hated about myself. In the last several years I had become more of a freak show than an attractive daughter he could be proud of.

“Abby, get out of the car.”

I debated for a moment, but knew that I’d never win. The wildest of my tantrums were no match for Dad’s strength, but until now, at least in the battle of wills, I had triumphed. Two days ago, my parents played their trump card.

“We’ve tried everything.” My parents had me cornered in their bedroom. Mom spoke because I listened more calmly to her. “We’ve been patient while you’ve promised over and over to try. We are really, really worried about you.”

Mom’s voice broke there. Dad turned and glared at my three little sisters eavesdropping from the bedroom doorway. Then he shut the door and stepped forward. “You promised to gain weight. Over a month ago, you agreed to the ultimatum that you would gain eight pounds. You’re nowhere near that. You need help and this is not a discussion. Remuda Ranch agreed to admit you, and we need to be there the day after tomorrow.” Daddy turned and left the room.

I slumped to my knees on the floor. “Please, please, please, Mom! Don’t send me away. I can’t be gone for two months. You might as well disown me. I’ll die there!”

Daddy and I walked silently into the airport. I had begged for Mom to take me. She was more compassionate and not fully convinced that inpatient treatment was the only option for my progressing eating disorder.

Dad carried both suitcases; he knew all my tactics: Burn extra calories by carrying extra weight. That morning I had snuck in 500 jumping jacks in the bathroom and 500 sit-ups. I knew that all exercise would be forbidden when we reached the ranch.

“Is she OK?” the flight attendant eyed me suspiciously, then turned her gaze toward my dad. We had settled into row 17. Dad always sat in the aisle seat because it accommodated his 6 foot 4 frame. Perfect way to slip in character description organically. Glancing at me, Dad waited for me to answer for myself. Crying had accentuated the perpetual bags beneath my eyes, and they glared red from both anger and the effort to dam up my tears.

“Yes, she’s fine,” Dad promised. “May I get a Dr. Pepper and she’ll have an orange juice.”

As soon as the stewardess walked away, I shot Dad a look that said, “Go to hell. I’ll never drink those 120 calories and you can’t make me.”

I could tell the stewardess wasn’t the only one peering at me from behind her thick-rimmed glasses. Everyone stared at me these days; it made me feel uglier than I already did. I snugged the flimsy red airline blanket high around my neck, hoping to hide the sharp angles of my chin and my craggy, bony shoulders.

“I’m freezing.” I whispered the first civil words to my dad. I knew he wasn’t angry with me, but I prayed my tone conveyed how furious I was at him and how much he was hurting me.

In a silent gesture of love, Daddy took off his casual bomber jacket and tucked it around my shoulders. Tears that I had finally corralled when we entered the hubbub of the airport threatened to ooze down my cheeks again.

“Do you want a section of the newspaper?” He flapped the pages lightly to spread the paper open. I only ever cared to read the comics, but I resented his effort to lighten the mood. He sat rigid next to me, like a stoic sentry, guarding his captive until he could deliver me to this place I didn’t want to go.

“Is the program really 60 days?” I meant to remind Dad of how long I would really be gone.

“Sixty days is the minimum amount of time for a minor.”

“What if I gain weight faster than that?”

“It’s not just about your weight, Abby. That’s the first important thing, you can’t survive like this much longer. But you’ll meet with counselors there who specialize in eating disorders. You can’t come home and do this all over again. Do you know what it is doing to our family? Do you have any idea how your sisters feel?”

I did have an idea, but I wished I didn’t.

“Dad, this is about me! I am the one being shipped off and abandoned!” I turned to glare out the window. In my purse were three handwritten notes from my sisters. Promises that they wouldn’t forget me, that their daily lives wouldn’t go on as usual without me.

“You need to stop saying that.”

“It’s true!”

“It is not true and you know it.”

He was making an effort to keep his voice down. I, on the other hand, already knew that everyone was staring at me, the grotesque stick-figure girl, so I didn’t care who heard.

“We love you. We are only doing this because we love you.” Dad’s eyes flooded with emotion. “Do you remember what the admissions person said on the phone? Even she said that your weight is at a critical place. Abby, don’t you see? You have to eat!”

“I’m fine,” I said and turned from his tears. It was a pointless argument, but desperation was closing in around me, pressing on my chest with each second we drew closer to our Arizona destination. “I’m fine but you don’t think so because I’m making waves in your perfect, Christian family. I’ve become the problem child and you have to get rid of me. Daddy, don’t you love me anymore?”

 

Just a short note to those of you who are following my story (soon to be book, I hope) here on Predatory Lies. The book has not gone through substantial editing yet and there may still be some typos or small corrections to be made in the chapters I am copying here. Please forgive them and feel free to point them out!

Chapter 8, Missing Peace

So we went back to the drawing board, parents pushing, me pushing back and a well-intentioned therapist saying all the right things at exactly the wrong time. I wasn’t ready to give up.

My sister Jennifer remembers the tension in our home. “As things got worse I had a lot of feelings. I was upset that I always had to corral Kelsey and Rachelle and keep them from bothering Mom because she was often in multi-hour conversations with you. I was upset because Mom and Dad started getting more and more stressed out. I was annoyed that you were doing all this and at the same time, Mom and Dad were encouraging you to gain weight by bribing you with a German Shepherd.”

Daddy and I came to lots of temporary truces. “If you gain 8 pounds in the next month, you can have the Honda when you turn 16,” he bargained once.

“What if I can’t make it? The dietician suggested 10 pounds in two months. Can we do that?”

“OK. Ten pounds in 2 months. But Abby, I’m serious. We’re looking into other inpatient treatment options. If you don’t meet this goal, we are going to take drastic measures.”

I felt trapped. To be true to my personal agenda of uncommon resolve and self-discipline, I had to perform certain long workouts and eat a certain number of calories and tally only a certain number of fat grams. But, my parents were offering me a different challenge. To please them, I had to perform as well, simply doing the opposite all my anorexic tendencies.

Either way, I was a failure. If I relinquished control of my strict diet and exercise regimen, I would fail as an anorexic, a new title I found strangely compelling, a definition all my own. If I failed to gain the agreed upon pounds, I would fail to meet my parents’ expectations.

To this point, the first 15 years of my life, I believed I had fallen short of my parents’ mark. That battle might have been lost, but I hadn’t yet played all my cards in the effort to beat my own nebulous goals. I chose to play another hand.

Flushable Fun, Missing Peace, Chapter 6

It was more than a threat.

My daily diet of peaches, rice and Snackwell’s cookies was not good enough for my mom. Neither were my promises to, “eat better tomorrow.” At their wits’ end, and the extent of their knowledge of anorexia, my parents called a counselor who specialized in treating eating disorders.

I wasn’t quite kicking and screaming as we pulled into the sparse parking lot. Kathy Hoppe’s pracitice was one of many unrelated business housed in a dime-a-dozen office buildings in the heart of downtown Tulsa. An indoor marquee directed us straight ahead to the reception area. The common area had all the foreboding of a dentist’s office, the antiseptic smell and placating posters of puppies and little girls smiling in fields of daisies. I wondered at the young model’s chubby cheeks, sucked mine in a bit.

“Hi, can you sign in please? Who are you hear to see?” The receptionist might have been anorexic herself, or just a starving college student putting herself through school working part-time in a random office building, answering random phones with a plastic smile and voice to match.

“We’re here to see Kathy Hoppe,” my mom said. “My daughter’s name is Abby Blades.”

“Just a moment. I’ll buzz her.” The receptionist slashed my name off a list in front of her, punched a four digit extension and waited.

Mom ushered me to a couple of chairs in the corner.

“I don’t want to sit,” I told her and leaned back against the wall near her. I braced my right foot against the wall, locked my left knee and shook my right heel. Burn, burn, burn. Calories accumulate at lightening speed when I sit, I’m sure.

“Hi! Abby Blades?” An amazon women appeared in doorway across the room. “I’m Kathy Hoppe, nice to meet you. Would you like to come on back to my office?”

Kathy had chin length blond hair, unmemorable hazel eyes and a warm smile. She wasn’t overweight, but she wasn’t tiny either. Anorexics notice things like that. If she had been chubby, I would have negated everything she told me on the spot. I might anyway.

“So, can you tell me a little bit about why you’re here?” Kathy motioned Mom and me to a full-sized, tan leather couch, then sat across from us in a cheap, plush chair. She crossed her legs and took up a notebook.

“Actually, first, let me clarify a few ground rules. Mom, you’ll be here with us today, but I’d like to speak to each of you individually at the end of our session for just about five minutes. Abby, because you’re a minor, I am obligated to share with your parents any information that I believe is important for your wellbeing. However, I guard your privacy with the utmost discretion. I won’t be calling your mom after every session.The first meeting went moderately well. Kathy sketched our family dynamics on a large sheet of butcher paper, noting my role as the oldest child. “Abby, you’re typical of an oldest child. You have very high performance standards for yourself. So you set rigid rule and imagine that everyone is watching you constantly, expecting you to fail. Does that sound right?”

It sounded familiar, so over the course of several months, Kathy pushed me break a few rules, loosen up and play more. On one memorable visit, Kathy instructed me to go down the hall to the main bathroom in the office building.

“I want you to unroll all the toilet paper. Spread it everywhere, have fun! Just do something crazy!”

It felt so stupid, so contrived, but I did it. I don’t recall any huge sense of expansion or relief. I merely had to do what she said to be a good patient.

A Book is Born, the very beginning

Here is a naked truth that I did not even know about myself. As I sort old journals, cull memories and query friends and family, I am realizing how little I actually knew about my own battle with an eating disorder. It’s kind of like taking a shower, an effort to cleanse away the day’s dust, and discovering a birthmark you had never seen before.

Obviously, it’s been a part of me forever. Since opening the womb, my “me-ness” has been as God sketched it. My soul has born the same imprint. Surely, culture and family and circumstances ebb and flow across each life and erode some things faster than others while sifting silt and revealing precious stones. But I had hardly seen it.

I was told that in writing my book, I must “bleed on the page and be saved in the process.”
Well, sometimes bleeding hurts. And when you’re being naked, even the smallest prick can make you bleed.
I WANT.
You see, I grew up the oldest of four girls. One of the anthems that I remember echoing through the halls of our home was, “Abby, you’re the oldest, can you please just give in thistime?” –or–
“Be the mature one.” – – or – –
“I expect more out of you.”

And I did, and I was. But denying want does not erase it. In fact, denying want on the surface dug a deep, subversive pit in my heart where I stuffed want and greedily demanded all my desires while on the surface, others observed a starving little girl denying even her need to eat.

Now, I can clearly hear the melody of my heart all those years, the percussion to which I kept time:
I want you to want me. I want you to think I am the smartest, the thinnest, the most beautiful. I want you to want to be me. I want to be enviable. I want to be impervious. I want to need nothing. I want you to know that I am strong. I want to think I am better than everyone else. I want others to think I am self-disicplined. I want, I want, I want. I want all of my parents’ attention. I want to be your favorite. I want you to notice me. I want you to think I am spiritual. I want your sympathy. I want your touch. I want to be able to have everything I want. I want you to tell me I can eat anything I want. I want to be safe. I want to be independent. I want, I want, I want.

It was so sneaky that even I did not recognize my greed. An anorexic appears to be in need. The life of an anorexic is an exercise is asceticism, self denial, ultimate self control. But for me, it was ultimately a ploy to get everyone else to condescend to all my demands.

That’s a pretty ugly naked. Now, lest you think I am unnecessarily berating myself, or attempting to beg pardon, let me tell you the TRUTH.

I was needy. I do want things.
There are a couple differences now, this is not selfishness. I have learned to ask for things – both my needs and wants. Secondly, I am learning to be attentive to the needs and desires of those around me. And lastly, I have stopped looking for others to notice and fulfill my emptiness.

I have found the bottomless source of gifts. I have found the unquenchable fulfillment of all my desires. I have found the solitary source for the satisfaction of all my needs. And He loves for me to come to Him HUNGRY.

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Ps. 145:15-19

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

The Old has Gone, The New has Come

A misconception about abusive relationships is that the person in the relationship is the only one who suffers. Sometimes, that’s where conventional therapy and intervention fail, addressing one person, searching for one cause, praying for one solution. For me, lasting peace did not come until I admitted the impact that my relationship with Ed had on my whole family. I had to listen to their hearts, absorb their pain and practice giving and receiving forgiveness.

To read more of this story, find me here: at Haven Journal. This is a series of three pieces, all of them have been published by Haven. I hope they encourage you.