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3 things to consider before leaving your churchAre you considering leaving your church? If so, I want to give you a few things to think about.

If you’re leaving because you’re relocating to another area, I understand. If you’re leaving because you’ve tried your best, with God’s help, to reconcile a situation, and haven’t been able to, I sympathize. And if you’re leaving because you want a stronger program for your kids, I would ask what you are doing to train them spiritually.

But if you are leaving your church because you’re not being “spiritually fed” you are like most people I’ve talked with.

As a pastor’s wife for more than 20 years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say they were looking for a new church because they weren’t being “spiritually fed.” I didn’t hear it being said about my husband (at least not directly) but from others about why they were checking out our church, why they hadn’t yet found a church, or why they have nearly given up on church altogether.

I fear what happens when we begin staying in or leaving a church based on the question “what’s in it for me?”

Here are three things to consider the next time you are thinking about leaving your church:

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There are two kinds of women in this world: Those who have been hurt and continue to feel hurt,  and those who have been hurt and have surrendered it to God and now help others overcome their hurts, too. I know which woman I want to be — the one who is a blessing and encouragement to others, regardless of what I’ve been through. read more

 Women ask me, on a regular basis, “How can I know God’s will for me?” I love when they ask that question, because the answer is so clearly spelled out in Scripture. Are you ready for it? It’s simple, yet profound: Praise Him in the pain.

In First Thessalonians 5:18, we are told “in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  God knows it doesn’t take much effort — or sincerity — on our part  to thank Him when things are going great in our lives. But to thank Him for everything? Even the difficult and painful things? That’s another story. That requires obedience and putting aside our feelings and saying “I don’t understand this, but I choose to trust You and thank You for it, anyway.” That is an act of love. That makes us more Christ-like. And that is God’s will for us. read more

Are you struggling with how to forgive your offender? free yourself when you forgive your offender

After 20 years of counseling women, I’ve discovered the main reason a woman doesn’t want to forgive her offender is because she doesn’t want to let the person who hurt her “off the hook.”

Yet, to forgive your offender — a  person who has hurt you deeply — means you are letting YOURSELF off the hook.

In my book When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, I talk about the healing power of releasing yourself through forgiveness.  read more

Having faced rejection from an abusive father, abandonment from an abusive husband, and then betrayal by a boyfriend she thought was the “real deal,” Becky asked “What’s wrong with me?”

But Becky, as many of us do, was asking the wrong question. The question is often not “What is wrong with me?” but “What is wrong with this representation of ‘love’?”

At the root of our hurts, as women, is what I call “distorted love.” We thought it was real. But then we were burned. We trusted it as love, but discovered it was manipulation. Sadly it can take several years, multiple relationships, and countless scars  to finally realize that true and perfect love exists only in the One who is truly perfect: Jesus Christ.  read more

I tend to be a control freak.

I don’t mean to be. It just happens. I want things my way and in my timing and I get frustrated when that doesn’t happen. Just ask my husband.

Yet, one of the basic steps to wholeness, as outlined in my newest book, When a Woman  Overcomes Life’s Hurts, is relinquishing our “rights” and admitting we are not in control — God is.read more

Do you see yourself according to how your past mistakes have defined you? Do you find yourself believing that you will always be a certain way?

I’ll admit it. I’ve found myself saying, at times, “That’s just the way I am.” But I realize now how pathetic that sounds.

Maybe, like me, you’ve found yourself saying things like:

  • “I have abandonment issues. I’m just that way.”
  • “I will never trust another person. That’s just the way I am.”
  • I have always needed a man in my life. I’m just that way.”
  • “Sorry I got so defensive. You should know I’m just that way.”

A sure sign that we are stuck from pain in our past is when we excuse our behavior by saying “That’s just the way I am.” Or, when we continue to believe that we can never grow beyond a certain place. read more

Are you one of those people who believes you’ve done something that God could never forgive?

It took my friend, Jean, about a year to even bring up the subject with me. She had done something years ago that she was still ashamed of. She couldn’t forgive herself or believe that God could forgive her, either.

Jean had made a decision, years earlier, to abort her unborn baby. Although her doctor advised that she terminate her pregnancy because of a history of miscarriages, she never questioned the doctor’s advice. Today, she wishes more than anything that she had. She could barely talk about it with me, let alone forgive herself.

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I’ve heard many women, through the years, tell me their story of pain and frustration and ask “Where was God, anyway?” “How could He just stand by and let that happen?” “Didn’t He care?”

Have you ever asked found yourself asking those questions? If so, it’s possible you’ve been believing some lies.

In my book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts,  I point out the third step to healing and wholeness: Reject the lie that God didn’t care about the hurt you experienced. read more

Have you ever found yourself  asking Why did I have to hurt like this?

It’s a question Sharon has often asked, while trying to make sense of the physical abuse, incest and other horrific events that accompanied her childhood.

Feeling for years that God hated her, she buried her pain deep inside and blamed a god she believed was just like her angry, abusive, manipulative father.

Until the day she had to reshape her understanding of Who God is.read more

If you’ve ever found yourself saying “This wasn’t supposed to happen” I know how you feel.

I heard myself saying that at 19 years old when my father’s alcoholism was revealed and my parents divorced. Everything I found security in seemed to crumble beneath me. I found myself wondering why God didn’t hold my family together.

My comfort came when I stumbled upon these verses in the Bible:  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

It was as if God was saying “I know what is going on here, Cindi, and although you don’t understand it, you must trust Me through it.”

I chose to trust God that day, rather than question Him. And I can honestly tell you today — nearly 30 years later — that God has worked that entire situation for good in my life,  in the life of my father who is now 30 years sober and ministering to countless other recovering alcoholics, and in the lives of my other family members. Did God cause those hurtful situations in my family? No. But He was able to work through them to bring some purpose out of our pain.read more

When I started writing my eleventh book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, I figured I’d overcome most of the baggage from my past.  I was healed and whole and it was time to help others get that way.

But funny how old wounds creep up on you when you least expect them.

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It took interviewing 50 women and hearing the worst of the worst stories for me to come to two conclusions:

  1. Although my hurts in life pale in comparison to what’s out there, they have affected me, nonetheless.
  2. It’s a daily surrender – not a one-time thing – to focus on the Healer, rather than my hurts, and to stay in a place of healing and wholeness.

So, just when I figured I was doing pretty well, emotionally and spiritually, God showed me how very much I still need Him.

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