Category Archives: Blog

When Worry Becomes a Marriage Wrecker

Are thoughts about your marriage riddled with worry? Entertaining worry for any length of time, it can easily become a marriage wrecker.

Early on in our marriage, Tom told me he was never going to change. Considering how selfish and controlling he was, (he easily admits this now), I worried I would never experience happiness married to him.

Focused on Tom’s worrisome words, I entertained worry as a welcomed guest in my thought life. Living with worry tainted my ability to believe in God’s wonder working power to heal my struggling marriage.

It’s no wonder God vehemently dislikes worry!

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The Key to a Pivotal Family Summer

couple on phonesWould you like this to be a pivotal family Summer? A Summer of crucial importance to the development or success of your marriage and family?

Then I’ve got one word for you: LISTEN.

I predict that during the next several weeks your family will say the most amazing things that hold the potential to make 2016 a pivotal Summer. But will you hear them?

Only if you LISTEN.

It may sound simple, and it is. Yet it’s extremely difficult to succeed at listening in this day and age. I realized just how difficult a few weeks back.

Prompted by the Holy Spirit to ‘pray’ about a gathering with family members, I laid my phone aside and began talking to God. After a 60 second prayer, I reached for my phone to check Facebook.

Yet I heard the Spirit prompting me to continue praying. I obeyed for another minute or so. Again, I reached for my phone and set it back down again at the Holy Spirit’s urgency to keep praying. I prayed some more but picked up my phone again! Eventually I laughed at how silly I must look if someone were watching. That’s when I settled down and began praying on a deeper level for the family I love.

What I didn’t know was that the Holy Spirit’s insistence to pray prepared me to ‘hear’ something a family member said. The words I heard come out of my loved one’s mouth directly connected with something I’d prayed in that deeper level.

I was elated knowing God prepared me to hear what I needed to hear. Yet I very nearly missed the opportunity.

My sinful desire to prioritize personal entertainment via Facebook or Instagram almost won out over my sincere need for prayer. And if I hadn’t prayed, I’m not sure I would have heard the casual statement uttered by my loved one.

Pivotal Family Summer Challenge

Pray for your marriage and children more than you entertain yourself on social media.

How will you accomplish this?

  1. Choose a time or times each day to check social media or play online games. Limit yourself to these pre-determined moments.
  2. Pray for your family whenever you have the urge to check social media
  3. Allow yourself the luxury of lingering in prayer. Ask God to let you know when you’re finished.
  4. Record or write down the prayer topics you’ve prayed about.
  5. Watch expectantly for God’s movement
  6. Praise Him for all He is doing

Prayer for a Pivotal Family Summer

Dear Lord, Position me to be in the right place at the right time and in the right mind to ‘hear’ what’s going on in the deep places of my husband and children’s hearts this Summer. Help me to resist the lure of distractions that tempt me to entertain myself more than I pray, because in communication with you, you prepare me to ‘hear’ the wealth of data coming out of my family’s mouths. Give me wisdom to know how to respond to what I hear. I want this to be a pivotal family Summer when my relationships with my husband and children develop and improve. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

5 Phrases That Can Help Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse

5 Phrases That Can Help Protect Your Child From Sexual AbuseOf late, I’ve become obsessed with HGTV’s Tiny House Hunting. So when a friend sent me an article written by a woman living in a New Zealand yurt, my interest was piqued. But the immediate connection I felt had nothing to do with the size of her home but rather the title of her article: 5 Phrases That Can Help Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse.

As you know, I’ve just completed 2 months of blogs, emails and a webinar developed to mentor you to better protect your children from the devastation of sexual harm. This article picks up where I left off and is soooo good, I had to pass it on. I encourage you to read it so you can begin practicing these phrases with your children during the coming Summer months.

Let’s do all we can to dismantle a culture of sexual abuse rather than add to it.

5 Phrases That Help Protect Your Child

5 Phrases That Can Help Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse

Are You Parenting From Shame Distorted Beliefs?

Without ever realizing it, I approached my children’s sexuality from shame distorted beliefs. I was embarrassed to call a penis a penis so we didn’t. We called it a ‘peter’ (my apologies to all the Peter’s out there!) And masturbation… I didn’t want to broach the topic, let alone say the word out loud.

Yet, if you want to create a safe home environment and prepare your kids for the sexual issues they’ll face, it’s important to begin the process of shedding personal shame.

None of us want to feel shame. Yet when you enter your story and see where shame has got you running for cover, you can choose to allow your Heavenly Father to begin the process of removing it and setting your free.

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Preparing Your Child for Sexual Harm

How do you prepare your child for the sexual harm they will encounter? And I do mean will.

Just the other day, a woman shared with me that she discovered her 12 year old innocently watching an appropriate YouTube video on her phone. Upon closer inspection, she was horrified to discover that sexually suggestive videos were sharing the same screen space, waiting to be accessed with a quick ‘click’.

Lest you’re wondering why I’ve devoted several blog posts and developed a free webinar, Not If, But When on the subject of protecting your children from sexual harm, I want to reiterate that this evil tactic is one of Satan’s most preferred methods to steal, kill, and destroy your kids.

Evil delights in sexual abuse because the return on investment is maximized. It takes but seconds to abuse, but the consequences can ruin the glory of a person for a lifetime.
-Dan Allender, Healing the Wounded Heart

With this awareness comes responsibility. You’ve been given the responsibility for your children, so the question arises: How do you protect them from such an aggressive, evil force?

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Replacing Harmful Patterns in Your Family Culture

lightstock_153486_small_sandyHave you ever thought about the family culture in which you grew up and how that impacts you as a wife and mother? Many consciously or subconsciously look back and have reduced their conclusions to one of the following:

Your close-knit family has been a role model for you to emulate

or…

Your broken family was the impetus to head in the opposite direction and create a whole and healthy family.

With all the pressures of life, thinking a bit more about your family culture might not be high on your ‘to-do’ list. But what if I told you that doing so would allow you to enjoy greater freedom and empower you to create a family culture that protects and prepares children for inevitable sexual harm?

Recently, I’ve begun writing about the culture in my family of origin. A couple of questions helped get me started:

  1. How did your dad relate to your mom?
  2. How did your mom relate to your dad?
  3. How did your parents relate to you?
  4. What role did you play in your family?
  5. What was the religious or spiritual atmosphere of your home?
  6. How did your parents engage the budding sexuality of their children?

It was an interesting exercise. What I unpacked from my memory bank revealed both dignity and depravity at work in my family. Then I was free to embrace the good and change the bad.

My Family Culture

I grew up in a close-knit family. Because my parents’ parents were divorced and several of my relatives lived out of state, my mom and dad focused on growing an inseparable family. Traditions, celebrations, and family activities were a regular way of life intended to bind us together. My parents strove to create the family they never had. Yet, honesty and autonomy were not celebrated if they did not uphold the family value of ‘one family indivisible’. Thus, when I spoke of my abuse which occurred within our family, I was minimized and ostracized.

Now that I have a greater understanding about the culture I grew up in, I can embrace the goodness I experienced regarding family oneness, yet I also choose to celebrate my children’s independence and honesty. In fact, I’ve invited my adult children to explore their own story within the context of the family culture Tom and I created. I encourage them to be honest about the hurts or wounds they sustained growing up in our home. Then, we can empathize, ask forgiveness, and grieve their losses with them. Once losses are grieved, you are much less likely to reenact those things that hurt you in the past.

This, in turn, encourages my adult children to think about the culture they want to create for their children. And, it gives Tom and I an opportunity to experience a life-giving relationship with them. No matter how old your children are, it’s never too late to invite them to enter their story so they, in turn, can choose what they will embrace and what needs changing!

If you’re the parent of younger children, looking back at your family culture will help you establish a life-giving environment which nurtures and protects your kids and their budding sexuality. (We’ll talk more about this in next week’s blog). This is the optimum time to look back!

I want to invite you to examine the stories that reveal your family culture in order to determine

a. What you want to keep that offers life
b. What you want to change that produces death

If you’re the parent of younger children, this exercise is particularly important when talking about your desire to protect your children from sexual abuse and harm. It will enable you to replace harmful patterns of behavior with gentle protecting skills so your children feel safe to bring you their concerns and discuss anything.

If you’d like to learn more about how to protect and prepare your children for inevitable sexual harm, REGISTER for my FREE webinar on May 11 at either 2:00 pm or 7:00 pm.

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Beautiful Action Step:

Answer questions #1-6 above. Discuss with your husband some of what you’ve discovered and begin to implement change in order to create a safe environment for your kids.

Can You Detect Sexual Abuse?

Breakthrough in your life and marriage in 2016I didn’t realize I was a victim of sexual abuse. Sounds impossible to believe, right? The fact is, my abuser didn’t rape me and so, believing that the definition of sexual abuse was sexual penetration, I was unaware of the damage done in the deep places of my soul.

Ignorantly, I carried that damage right into adulthood and my marriage. Our sex life was continually plagued with shame and blame. And sex was just the presenting problem.

There were a host of deeper issues mushrooming in the darkened cracks and crevices of my heart. I’d closed them off to the healing light of God’s love because I was ashamed to talk about such things. Quite frankly, I didn’t trust the power of His goodness to transform the broken pieces of my life and create something beautiful. Instead, I fiercely guarded any mention or memory of the abnormalities characterizing the relationship I had with my abuser.

For this reason,I believe there’s significant value in taking a closer look at what sexual abuse really is.

For a sound, working definition of sexual abuse, let’s learn what expert Dan Allender, author of Healing the Wounded Heart, pioneer of The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and therapist to hundreds of sexual abuse survivors has to say:

“Sexual abuse is any contact or interaction (visual, verbal, or psychological) between a child/ adolescent and an adult or between children when the child/ adolescent is being used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or any other person.

…Any contact or interaction used for the sexual stimulation of another person.

I was surprised by this information, and after years of avoiding mention about the relationship I had with my abuser, I was ready to take a deliberate look at my past.

The experience of walking into my past has been bittersweet. Assessing my losses has been painful. Yet it’s also provided an exquisite opportunity to bring each loss to God and, with the help of others, realize He desires to heal and set me free- step by step.

The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance. John 10:10

A definition of sexual abuse might be the eyeglass through which you detect that something precious has been stolen. And that’s always the first step to freedom.

Are you ready to step foot on a journey leading to greater freedom knowing that the steps you take will impact you and your children for good?  I want to walk with you on that journey. That’s why I’m offering a FREE webinar: Not If, But When: Prevention, Protection, and Preparing Your Child for Inevitable Sexual Harm on May 11 at 2:00 and 7:00 pm EST.

When you join me in this webinar, you will learn how to cultivate a strong and joyful family that can thrive in an evil culture bent on abusing sexuality. I hope you’ll register for this free event and allow me to mentor you regarding this important topic.

Not If, But When offers hope to those who’ve been harmed and insight for those determined to protect and prepare their children regarding sexual abuse.

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Would you please do me a favor? Please forward this email to others God brings to mind. Thank-you.

The Lie That Almost Ruined Our Vacation (Part 2)

If you’re just joining me, you’ll want to take a look at last week’s blog to learn what led up to discovering the lie that almost ruined our vacation. As I explained, Tom and I got separated after arriving at the Puerto Vallarta Intl. Airport on vacation. Incredibly, I was unable to locate him for a full 45 minutes! And the first words I spoke after laying eyes on his big baby blues were these: “I’ve only got one thing I can say to you: Where the heck were you?!!”

On cue, Tom heatedly explained the ordeal he’d just been through. He never did go to the bathroom to change because he’d immediately spotted our gray suitcase- one of the first up off the conveyor belt. He whipped around to the opposite side of the carousel without my knowing it, grabbed the suitcase, and called out to me repeatedly. He never did get my attention (did I mention we were up at 2:45 am to catch our flight?) His calls eventually became shouts as he was herded by airport employees, with others from our flight, toward the customs line.

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The Lie that Almost Ruined Our Vacation (Part 1)

Have you ever experienced genuine fear that eventually gives way to overwhelming anger? This recently happened to me and almost ruined our vacation.

Tom and I travel to Mexico each winter. This year we chose to revisit Puerto Vallarta. We love the mountains and the beach so it’s a favorite destination!

After a lovely start to our day which, incredibly enough, included a 2:45 am wake-up to make it to the airport on time (we won’t ever do that again!), a smooth connection in Detroit which included a stop at our favorite deli (Zingerman’s) for breakfast, we landed in PV right on time.

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Essential Directions for a Successful Marriage

Following directions is key to a successful marriage. Yet most of us disregard, minimize, or miss altogether the directions we’ve been given to ensure our success.

This past week-end, Tom and I visited my brother and his wife at their lake cottage. Wanting to treat them, we brought along a Turkish coffee maker (they love coffee as much as we do). Tom, the brew master, took control yet missed one detailed instruction: let the water come to a boil before adding the espresso grounds. The end result was a layer of sludge covering the bottom of our cups. It wasn’t the result he’d hoped for. Re-reading the directions, he found the missing piece of advice. Trying again using the specific directions made a huge difference. The coffee was good to the last drop.

If you want a successful marriage, follow the directions for wives recorded in the Bible. If you do, you’ll enjoy a delicious result!

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