Category Archives: Addiction

Judging Motives: Depression Meets a Closed Mind (Or – Jeff Foxworthy Faced a Heckler)

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

woman in black long sleeved shirt
Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

Can we fully understand anyone else’s motives? 

Foxworthy

Jeff Foxworthy was called “mean” by one of the audience members as he hosted the television game show,  Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.  His contestant was none other than Dan Whitney, playing his famous comedic character, Larry the Cable Guy. If you recall, Foxworthy and Whitney toured together for several years and have a long friendship.  

What might you have thought if you heard Foxworthy imply in front of millions of viewers that Larry was stupid?  

Whitney is a very successful comedian, actor, producer, and author.  “Larry” on the other hand is not so intelligent and is highly unsophisticated. Whitney and Foxworthy play off each other like an old married couple. 

Foxworthy replied to the heckler. “I’m not mean. I love this guy. We’ve been friends for a long time.”

We all judge

That situation may seem obvious because most of us know who are these two men involved in teasing each other. However,  all humans judge others – we do! It is not a question of judging or not. It is a matter of consciously challenging stereotypes, stigma, and negative perceptions.

If you have thought or said “stupid driver” about the person who doesn’t move as soon as the light turns green, you have made a negative assumption. If you assume laziness to be the problem when you see the mother in the grocery store with two screaming kids, you have allowed stigma to do your thinking.

Depression’s hecklers

As one with a mental illness history, I’ve felt the distrust and disdain of those who do not understand. Trying to explain the tunnel-vision that accompanies major depression, I told a man that for a while it feels like ‘me me me’. He said, “Yes, and that’s sinful. We are to be unselfish and loving.”

Nice.

Depression may prevent a woman or man from responding as we wish. She struggles to reason because her perceptions are negative. This is temporary. Meanwhile, of course she needs attention. He needs someone to dole out his meds. She wants to hear she is loved as-is. He longs for his friends to contact him so he does not feel forgotten.

The answer

We actually cannot understand anyone else’s motives. We must offer the benefit of a doubt, and believe a person’s explanation until facts show us otherwise. Close-minded people will be the last to learn.  Mental illness, abuse, and addiction each come with a crowd of assumptions and negative judgments.  

Let’s be leaders in setting higher examples, and casting the rallying cry for more eyes that willingly see, ears that choose to hear, and gentle respect for each other.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Galatians 6: 4-5
“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

 

God Does Not Waste Pain On Us

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

woman raising her right hand
Photo by Murilo Folgosi on Pexels.com

God does not waste pain on us. For me, it took despair and suicide attempts to discover value in living. Those ruins of loss and struggle have become building blocks for the restructuring of joy and the real me.

A man named Paul wrote half of the Bible’s New Testament. He also strained against something he figuratively called “a thorn in the flesh.” Three times he prayed for it to go away. God’s answer was that it was through Paul’s weakness that God would prove himself to be enough to keep Paul going.  (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

Do you think anyone in Paul’s time, or even Paul would have imagined that the persistence of his “thorn” would become a powerful lesson reaching countless numbers of people for two thousand years?

We do not always know why we suffer. For most of five re-building years following my dive into major depression, I tried to make sense of personal value and purpose. Remembering Paul, my broken spirit almost daily asked God, “Can my thorn also be a blessing? Will you ever allow me to help other people again?”

One afternoon at a 12-step meeting, a young woman shared that she was trying to escape the trauma of being raped multiple times by her youth pastor.

An inward nudge from Jesus’ Holy Spirit pushed me to go talk to her. We were strangers, yet she searched my eyes in desperation.

“Why did God send him?” she said. “Why did he send a man of God to rape me?”

She could not be free from the chain of addiction and self-medication until she was free of her deepest anguish.  It was not the horrific memories nor lack of safety that had her bound. It was fear that she had lost the God she had always known to be good. 

Referencing the Bible book of Matthew (chapter 7, verses 15,16), I said, “Have you heard about wolves in sheep’s clothing?”

“Yes!” She rose in her chair. “Is that what happened?”

“He was not a man of God.” I said. “He was a liar and a wicked man who used the church to cover evil. God loves you. He did not send that man to rape you.”

“Really? He was not a man of God?” Her eyes were wide.

“No. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

If I could ever find words to describe the scene playing out in her eyes- it was as clear as a movie. From desperate fear and searching to flickers of hope,  then wide-eyed wonder and finally, freedom.

The timing that day was perfect, and the God who knows all hearts used my unsteady one to speak life to her dying one. In one moment, the Restorer of souls fashioned ruins into life-giving shelter.

Stone hearts become flesh again, human weakness is covered by divine strength, spiritual poverty becomes wealth in faith. Chains turn into testimonies, lost is found, damned is saved, and pieces of shattered minds are Tenderly gathered by the Savior.

This is what Jesus does for people. This is his amazing grace.

Your ruins have purpose in the Master Builder’s hands. If you are willing to be free,  God will incorporate all that is broken into formation of the you he always intended.

Today’s Helpful Word  

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 

Three times I pleaded with the LORD to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -Paul

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

It Is Worth It In the End

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

XYMONAUrgb4It would be ridiculous for me to say I’d be willing to repeat my life. Right? I mean who needs abuse and major depression?

Or would it be ridiculous? What if all that has happened that is sad and broken serves a purpose today that I wouldn’t want to give up for the world?

The latter is true. This weekend was another privilege to share my story, including mental illness, and  the hope I live in each day. There was a time- a long time- when I couldn’t have done that and understood the depth and reality of this true hope.

I talked and taught about Jesus and his salvation and love for over 30 years. However I was blind to the fact that I didn’t fully grasp what I was talking about.

Much of what I knew to be love, was not. Much of my self- image was built on sand castles that washed out with each major storm.  False, negative core beliefs, out of sight and hidden under denial, guided life decisions and filtered happy truth.

All that is in the past. No longer do I doubt my value. Love is something I feel and know and trust regardless my emotions. Those lies that penetrated my mind are gone and replaced with facts.

  • I am fully and deeply loved by God who delights in showing unfailing love.*
  • I am valuable because he made me for a purpose. **
  • Lies do not hold me prisoner anymore. Both messages and messengers were exposed as less than worthy of my attention. ***

If repeating this life would land me in the joy and love I now know, then yes, I would do it. It is not ridiculous to want to share this love and joy with you.

This post is short but loaded with powerful healing truth. Jesus loves you and wants you for his own. He created you with a purpose that will both fulfill and free you. The Holy Spirit will teach you as you read the Bible and it will make sense. He will also guide you to people who can help.

Please contact me if you have questions.

Today’s Helpful Word  

*Micah 7:!8b-19 You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love.  Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!

**Ephesians 2:8-10  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

***John 8:44b [The devil] has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.

 

 

 

Living With an Addicted Person is Crazy-Making Until You Say “No More”

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013 Nancy Virden,  Always the Fight MInistries

people sitting in front of wooden table
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“You’ve been drinking again.”

“No, I haven’t.”

“But I found a water bottle in the back of the bathroom cupboard filled with vodka.”

“That’s just water!”

“Oh… ok, it’s just water.”

It is not only those with an addiction who have a problem. Spouses, friends, and other family members jump through figurative hoops trying to make sense of lies while wanting to trust. No one wants to play the fool, yet disbelieving all the time hurts too.

**********

“You’ve been watching porn.”

“No.”

“I saw a link on your screen.”

“You’re too suspicious. I don’t know how that got there. Some ad or something. I have not been watching porn. You have my word.”

“Oh…ok, it’s just an ad.”

Accepting blame and listening to a constant stream of denial can be crazy-making.  It is normal to feel trapped and victimized.  Where gaslighting is involved,  trust is destroyed.  

********

“I finally found comfortable shoes for work. On sale for only $20!”

“We don’t have the money for that.”

“But you bought an I-Pad and took all your friends out to dinner.”

“You don’t need new shoes, your old shoes are just fine.”

“Oh…ok, do you want me to take them back?”

Remember that you matter too. Whether someone tries to pass to you the sympathy card or victim card, the denial card or blame card, you do not have to extend your hand and join the game. 

But I don’t want to make things worse by setting a boundary. I will feel guilty.  May I suggest you are already in great pain?  

One of the strongest women I’ve met was a mother who had to remove her drug-addicted son from the home and not welcome him back no matter how he begged.  It was torment to find him at her door. Yet she stood her ground knowing she might be saving his life. Home for her and the other children  returned to peace. 

Today’s Helpful Word  

Psalm 56:10, 11

 In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise—
 in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can man do to me?

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

 

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Hope and help are yours.

 

 

Dear Supports, The Line Between Concern and Control is Not So Fine. Here are 10 Differences

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

people sitting in front of wooden table
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

A mother in her late sixties consistently criticized her forty-something son’s job hunt, marriage, and child-rearing. In turn, her daughter-in-law sent her accusatory letters telling her to back-off. 

Over many years, a variety of people had tried to tell the elder woman that her controlling attitude was damaging to her family relationships and ability to work well with others. For as many years, her stubbornness told a different tale; she knew she was right. 

Finally, after losing two careers and a lifetime of closeness to her children, she asked, “What am I doing wrong?”

She asked me. Her question stirred a thoughtful process that led to the following ten-point general comparison between concern and control. 

As supports of anyone who struggles with mental illness, abuse, or addiction, our role is often uncomfortable. We have to make a decision, deep in our character, as to whether we will respect each person’s freedom to choose. After offering what help is reasonable, will we let go?

Two supports in my own struggle with major depression showed opposing attitudes. One said,  “God brought us together so I can fix you.” The other said, “You are powerful, Nancy. You can get through this.” 

Which one do you suppose is still my friend?

Control versus Concern- what is the difference?

1. Concern wants to extend love above all else. Control desires results above all else.

2. Concern is humble and eager to learn. Control knows the answer.

3. Concern actively listens and validates with genuine interest.  Control does not listen.

4. Concern offers hope based on knowledge, insight, and wisdom.  Control offers pat answers, quick-fix solutions, or false hope based on incomplete understanding of a person and his or her needs.

5. Concern accepts responsibility for one’s own life, and patiently leaves others to take responsibility for theirs. Control criticizes, manipulates, and tries to force its will. 

6. Concern offers help when asked, or asks before helping. Control assumes ways to “fix” a situation or person with or without consent.

7. Concern respects the privacy of others.  Control shares what is told in confidence, and  wants in on gossip and rumor.

8. Concern feels some worry, yet also experiences peace by letting go. Control repeatedly expresses frustration and disappointment at slow or unwanted results.

9. Concern feels empathy, pain, or grief, but does not have to own what is not one’s problem. Control takes personally another person’s troubles. 

10. Concern of a Christian believer points people to Jesus. Control is self-worship that can blind others to God’s miraculous power. 

This is not about perfection, it is about growth in love. We all can pass between concern and control at moments. However, making the mistake of living as a controlling person harms relationships and damages those for whom you care so much.

Today’s Helpful Word  

James 3:13-18

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth…  

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

 

 

Whispered Guarantee: Shelter and Rest in 2019

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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This week I spent three days at my son’s beautiful apartment over Christmas. He cooked all the meals, cleaned everything, and served me like a special guest. It was fabulous and restful, a perfect shelter.

Christmas night I had to leave for the two-hour drive home. In transit, I longed for another shelter – my house, and my bed. 

Shelters come in various forms. Houses, finances, portfolios, and reputations give us a sense of security.  We rest in family and friends. Often, hope centers on the immediate, the latest sure thing, or escape.

Problem is, each of the above is temporary and comes with no guarantee. 

A friend once had a dream. In it, there was a terrific storm. She entered a shelter, finding Jesus and many people inside. It was safe there. All was calm while the storm outside whirled about. 

Noticing the storm had quieted, my friend thought, “It is alright to go out now.” She left, only to be caught up again in massive winds. A hand grasped her, pulling her back inside.

It was Jesus. He said, “Did I tell you it was safe to leave my shelter? Stay here.”

The next morning, my friend confessed the dream had led her to a spiritual decision. She said, “I will never leave his shelter again. Never.”

Anxiety, a seemingly ever-present enemy of rest, shouts its threats. Booming rages and disasters in the world demand our attention. Depression and other disorders try to claim our minds. Yet there is a whispered guarantee. The shelter of the Most High is our place of safety. 

This shelter is not built by human hands. It is the Lord Jesus Christ, himself. In the quiet of trusting, yielding, and worshiping prayer, he whispers his love. Reading, comprehending, and living by God’s Word (the Holy Bible), raises our faith. Fear, guilt, shame, doubt, a sense of worthlessness or hopelessness – all dissolve and heal over time in the presence of Jesus, our refuge.

God’s promise to anyone who chooses to set up home in his shelter, is rest.  Under the shadow of the Almighty, we can know peace. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 91:1-2

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'”

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

A Visit to Rehab: The Greatest of These is Love

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

This past Sunday, I drove to Chicago.  The director of alumni events at a rehabilitation center had invited me to speak with residents on Monday. 

Morning came early. While much of the U.S.A. was arising and heading to work or school, these women  continued the fight  to gain recovery from addiction, eating disorders, mental health challenges, or all three. Excited and a little nervous, I left the hotel to join them.

Women in the rehab program advance in liberties as they progress. This time, my audience consisted of women in the process of learning to make healthier choices without constant supervision.  They are well on their way to going home, clean and sober. In fact, a few of them  graduated that day!

Most people in recovery have been told numerous times they are worthless, many since childhood. As part of my story,  I shared the reality of God’s love and message. I added, “I am a Christian, born-again, a follower of Jesus. But those are only words. Hopefully, my life reflects who he is.” Everyone nodded. 

America today hears much rhetoric about Christians, evangelicals in particular, and the mix of religion with politics as if faith in Jesus and a certain political party are one and the same.  It is difficult for those who do not know, to grasp who Jesus actually is. 

In some ways, the standard for Christians is raised. Show me you mean it. Show me you do not hate or despise me. Match your choices to your words. Prove your faith by your love. In extending love and compassion, and sincere non-critical acceptance to people in all stages of their journey, we represent God as the Bible reveals him.*

Mental health treatment in this country is greatly lacking. It is not available everywhere,  and is expensive for most.  Parity in the insurance realm is inconsistent. There are few standards by which to measure how long a patient should stay in a hospital.

In my opinion, stigma and lack of knowledge are the primary reasons we do not take care of mentally ill and emotionally unstable people. There is judgment – “I do not believe in mental health disability, I just don’t.”  “Depression is not an illness,  with enough faith (or strength) anyone can snap out of it.” “You are adopting the principles of the world if you give psychology any merit.” 

All these have been said to me, about me, plus many more accusations of failure. If I could describe  the beauty of joy and hope in the faces of the women I met on Monday,  perhaps more could see the value of mental (some call it behavioral) healthcare.  Maybe  God could get some credit for knowing what he is doing in each person’s life! 

Meanwhile, it is tremendous joy being vulnerable and open with people in the middle of the struggle. They, as do we all, respond to love.

Today’s Helpful Word

Mark 10:46-52

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

-woman pic by LUSI on rgbstock.com; Jesus pic from freebibleimages.org

*This does not imply avoidance of the topic of sin. As seen in my work s a whole, my emphasis is how we approach people. Are we interested in gaining insight into another person’s struggle? Jesus showed sincere non-critical acceptance to hurting people, and in the context of meeting their needs, taught them to know him.   

Delicious and Deadly: Cycles of Self-Defeat and God’s Solution

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

After searching the store for turkey roast, my son, who was with me,  finally found one.  Yesterday, I threw it, various vegetables, and some cream of chicken into my crock pot.  Almost everything but the soup was frozen. 

On the low setting, I allowed it all to cook for 10 hours. This is a no-brainer. Dozens of times I have cooked frozen ingredients on low for long periods, both in the crock pot and in the oven.   It always works, and everything is tender. 

No one in 37 years of home cooking has become sick on my food. (That is not to say my boys did not hate spinach when they were little!) However, after chilling the turkey stew in the refrigerator for 2 hours, I ate a bowlful and was sorry very quickly.

I have no idea what, if anything, I did wrong. Possibly the ingredients were already bad, and in their frozen state I could not tell. This one thing I do know – it was delicious and deadly.  (I am ok, by the way.)

Pacifiers are delicious

This stew is not the only time something delicious has been deadly in my life.  By “delicious” I am describing temptations of any kind.  In our humanness, we feel needs and wants. From a distance the solutions we choose appear delightful. 

For example, some of us live with a giant hole in our psyche left there by neglect, abandonment, rejection, abuse, or any type of lack of nurture.  That is hard, and learning to deal with it can lead to many tempting forms of relief. 

You know what they are – substances, food, sex, workaholism, co-dependencies … the list is endless. Chosen pacifiers that we come to believe we must have to survive, unfortunately are many times delicious, and emotionally, spiritually, and even physically deadly. 

Letting go of the temporary for the permanent

I am not going to sidestep what is of the essence with this issue. We are, (I too many, many times) trying to lean on toppling fences.  Because we see them and understand their power of relief, we assume they can hold us up.  Then comes the day that they do not. 

This week, I had to let one such pacifier go.  It was interfering with my ability (oh let’s be honest – my willingness) to trust Jesus in all situations. This dependency has served as a false god,  idol worship if you will.  It seemed easier and more substantial to run to it than to lean on the solid fence of God’s unchanging good (holy, love) nature. 

I feel freer, less burdened.

The good question to ask is, what have any of us gained by returning to those wobbly fences? The answer is pain, exhaustion, confusion, sorrow, and threats of death  because fake gods, or temporary pacifiers, will let us down.  Yuck.  Still, like a yo-yo I kept spinning back to this specific “solution”  as if the result would be different after a while. Insane. 

It makes much more sense to rely on God’s unfailing love, and the eternal salvation offered through faith in Jesus. This week, my emotions, mentality, and even physicality are taking on the challenge of letting go. It is rough, but I am full of praise for the loving arms of Jesus who has never let me fall without lifting me in his compassionate love and meeting every need. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Jeremiah 4 :1,2

 “… says the Lord, if you wanted to return to me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols  and stray away no more. Then when you swear by my name, saying,  ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ you could do so  with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing …”

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*pics by ALEXBRUDA of rgbstock.com

 

 

“Help, Church Leaders Don’t Want Me to Divorce Husband with Porn Addiction”

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

In April, the following message came using the contact form on this website. (printed by permission)

“Thanks. Your articles were helpful. My Google search that led to your page was – ‘help church leaders don’t want me to divorce husband with porn addiction’.  We separated, with the elders wanting that time to be for us to work towards reconciliation. I still see abusive attitudes that are so tied up in the porn use. They see [his] tears and ‘repentance’. They haven’t spent time with me or the kids – only him. The emotional abuse is so HEAVY. That is what I feel most compelled to run from – someone who plays the victim while he is abusing himself, his wife, kids, and those used to make the content he has indulged in. I think this is the part where wives and kids need help – after YEARS/DECADES of this cycle (sin comes to light/tears and repentance and new accountability partners/ etc.) – when is it finally enough? Their argument is that he seems genuine this time – so who am I to not give him another year? These guys haven’t even chatted with me. That happens too often. And if we say, “but that seems unsafe to me” – we are told we’re being unsubmissive. I wonder how many people have been completely finished off by that sort of spiritual abuse. I hope you are able to help others still love God and trust Him, but navigate through these murky waters. Thanks again.”

The writer’s articulate description of the cycle of cheap grace hopefully draws you in, dear reader. Perhaps you’ve lived it, or are seeing her point of view for the first time. 

Cheap grace 

1) Sin comes to light. 

2) Tears and repentance

3)New accountability partners

4) Sin continues

This wife’s story draws tears to my eyes because she, her children, other watching families, and the testimony of Christ are twice hurt.  Both the husband’s sins and the church’s short-sighted response to pornography in Christian families have emptied grace of its beauty and power.  Along with her, I ask, when is it finally enough? How many observers have been completely finished off by that sort of spiritual abuse?

Here’s the thing, dear reader.  In my experience, most believers and followers of Christ want to do what is right. There will always be power-hungry leaders among us, however they are relatively few. The rest of us make these mistakes based on lack of knowledge. 

Christ’s grace

1) We all sin and fall short of God’s holy nature (Romans 3:23)

2) People return to sin like a dog returns to its vomit  (2 Peter 2:21-22)

3) Our “righteousness” is as pure as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)

4) Enter Jesus. He lives the life we cannot – one without sin (Hebrews 4:15)

5) He pays the blood-price for our forgiveness (1 John 1:7)

6) We confess our sins and turn away from them with his strength (Romans 8:5-9)

7) We become more and more like him, loving others as he did (Philippians 2:5)

8) In marriages, we lay down our selfish ambitions and pursue loving each other as Christ loved his church, and gave himself for her, submitting to each other as unto the Lord. (Ephesians 5:1-21)

Where does adultery, lust, and addiction fit in this picture? Where is the false repentance (that is actually only remorse) in God’s story? Did not Esau sell his soul for a pot of porridge? And though he begged for forgiveness with tears, he could not receive it. That is because his tears were remorseful, not repentant. (Hebrews 12:15-17)

True repentance is observable

Repentance accompanies  deep, honest and humble confession,  true understanding of the pain one has caused others and God,  long-lasting change (with the family as the star witness, not tears),  continuous humility,  and a blame-the-victim, blame-society, and blame-God ceasefire. By the way,  “I can’t help it” is blaming God. 

Cheap grace sounds as the wife in this story describes it (Romans 6:1-3).  When is enough?  In my opinion, it is easier to accept someone’s tears than to do the hard work of exploring their heart. At the very least,  I wish her church leaders would chat with her and the children!

There are common misunderstandings

  • Forgiveness and trust are confused
  • Submission as unto the Lord is diminished into enabling and endorsing sin
  • Separation and divorce are equaled with remarriage
  • We are unwilling to do as God did – allow divorce due to the hardness of mens’ hearts
  • There is little concept of the connection between porn and adultery, or porn and abuse
  • There is little respect for the death sentence emotional abuse hands down to victims 
  • Legalism trumps holiness. 

Thank you for reading today’s blog, and I pray you are encouraged by the truth written here. Let’s do our best to understand wisdom, and to love these families harmed so deeply by pornography.

Related Posts:  Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse pt 1, pt 2;   Series on Emotional Abuse in Christian Marriages pt 1, pt 2, pt 3, pt 4, pt 5and An Open Letter About Porn to Christian Husbands, Pastors, and Husbands-to-be

Today’s Helpful Word

2 Timothy 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*help sign and typing pic from kozzi.com

Part 3 Silence No More: Go from Voiceless to Heard by Overcoming Procrastination

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness, addiction, or abuse   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

I was reminded today how, when in crisis, our world seems so small. This is one reason it is important to reach out for support, and hear other perspectives.

Emotional struggles, mental illness, addiction, and abuse,  may lead to shame and silence.  Three obstacles stand in the way of finding your voice. 

False beliefs (part 1)  Fear of what might happen (part 2) and today’s third obstacle, round out this series. 

Obstacle # 3 :  Procrastination.

Putting anything off until tomorrow is the bane of students, entrepreneurs, and Monday mornings. We perceive an action as too hard, too painful, or not worth our time. Avoidance techniques like eating, drinking, and other substances and behavioral habits only make our situation worse. 

Silence has that effect as well. Speaking up and finding your voice is often a matter of self-motivation and self-encouragement. Part of finding your voice is discovering it within.  

Needed:  Motivation

You have your mind and right to make decisions. Take a logical inventory. What has silence already cost you? Familiar suffering is not superior to freedom. List what you have tried that did not work, and what you have not tried that might work.

In cases of abuse, chances are you have tried denial, excusing the abuser’s behavior,  offering forgiveness and multiple chances,  walking on eggshells,  and perhaps even questioning the value of your life. Silence has not protected you emotionally or physically. 

In addiction, likely you have tried cold-turkey, “final decisions”, denial, independence, and a sense of control. Silence has not led you to health. 

Untreated or under treated mental illness or emotional challenges have left you with self-disgust and a sense of failure.  Perhaps you have lost friends, work, or home. Denial has helped you cope. Silence has prevented you from a positive solution. 

Is this what you want?  

Needed:  Encourage Yourself

Rah-rahs help sometimes. Positive thoughts may give us some courage. However, there are there more practical ways to build your chances for a better future.

If past efforts at speaking up did not end the way you want, go back to part 2 of this series and study your options.  Did a therapist or psychiatrist not work out well? Learn what to realistically expect, and try someone different if you must. Did you not follow expert advice? Go back with a teachable attitude.

Learn from others to escape the tapes stuck on replay in your head. Listen to first-hand experiences.  Many past victims of abuse escape saying, “I should have done this sooner,” or “I waited too long.”  Testimonies of recovery repeatedly press the point, “You have to admit you are powerless.”  For me, overcoming major depression and suicidal thinking took a deliberate decision to discover what enjoying life means.

Your voice counts because (insert your name) matters. You matter to the One True God, his Son Jesus, and to those good people in your sphere. You matter to the world because your success gives the rest of us hope.  You really are loved.

Challenge your false beliefs,  reach out for support, and do not put it off. 

Be heard. Be free.

 Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 31:7 –  song to Yahweh

I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
    for you have seen my troubles,
    and you care about the anguish of my soul.

******COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

Pics: Climbers top by AYLA87; Raised hands  by LUSI ,  both of rgbstock.com