Wednesday, October 7, 2020

How and what to pray for adult children

 I'm reading Michael Van Vlymen's powerful book, Violent Prayer for your Adult Children. It's about using powerful, effectual, fervent, steadfast, relentless, fearless and unwavering prayer over our children, even after they enter adulthood and we can't be there physically to protect them or limit their access to dangers. That can feel pretty powerless.

They have free will, and now they have the legal right to exercise it even if it goes against everything we tried to teach them and instill in them. Scary thoughts! 

We are not helpless and we do not need to live in fear - but instead access the Holy Spirit of power, love and a sound mind~2 Timothy 1:7

God also has a will and while He is not not going to violate our children's will, BUT many miracles happen when we agree with God over our children. He knows all the ins and all the people who can help our children, He sends angels to encourage and often protect them some of the consequences of their poor choices, etc.

 Know what we can pray for as parents and go boldly before the throne of God declaring that we desire His will to be done, in our children. Then praise Him and watch for the miracles - even if they don't happen this day, or this year, or for some this decade, use your faith and believe they are on the way and internal changes are happening that we will see externally at some point. 

Hebrews 11:1

Pray the following every day with thanksgiving and gratitude that God agrees with you, and don't break the  agreement by doubting if you personally don't see the changes you want when you want them. 

God knows the plans He has for your children, and He will bring them about if there is anyway to work it in their will, and God knows all the ways and doors - trust Him and His perfect timing, He knows the outcome of all possibilities.

2 Peter 3:8-9 The Passion Translation

So, dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape your notice: a single day counts like a thousand years to the Lord Yahweh, and a thousand years counts as one day. This means that, contrary to man’s perspective, the Lord is not late with his promise to return, as some measure lateness. But rather, his “delay” simply reveals his loving patience toward you, because He does not want any to perish but all to come to repentance.

Isaiah 54:13 And all your children shall be disciples [taught by the Lord and obedient to His will], and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of your children.

What He does for one He will do for any of us: 

Acts 10:34 I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism TPT

Ask God how to specifically pray for your children and be sensitive to "hearing" Him or getting a word of knowledge from reading the Bible with that intention in mind, or listening to sound preaching or sometimes a Christian friend will say something without realizing they are answering your prayer for insight. Expect answers. 

In the meantime pray the following, pray it with authority, just because they are legally grown does not mean you can not take authority spiritually; pray relentlessly and tenaciously, daily until the prayer is realized; and pray your children see the Truth being the choices they make. 

1. Pray God's will is done in their lives now just as it is done in heaven Luke 11:1-4; 1 John 5:14

2. Pray beginning with worship, praise God who can work all things for your children's good Romans 8:28 - don't just cry and plead (although that can really get His attention too because He cares for us as His own children and His heart breaks for our needs (Genesis 16:11; 29:31; Psalm 34:18; 36:5-7; 100:4; 107:1; Romans 8:32; Philippians 4:6) Get into the right and thankful attitude about who it is we pray to.

3. Meditate on Scripture that reminds you Who He is and what He does as well as our role (Matthew 7:11; Philippians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 10:5, John 3:16; Romans 8:32; Deuteronomy 4:31; Lamentations 3:22-23; Psalm 36:5-7; Psalm 139 the whole thing but especially 1-8 and 16)

4. Start by imagining and deciding to put on the whole armor of God Ephesians 6:11-17

5. Be honest about your own intention, desires, possible manipulation for our own purposes - happens to all of us. (Psalm 66:18, 139:23-24; 

6. Pray against and bind the true enemy (John 10:10; Ephesians 6:11-17

7. Pray like you mean it (declare and decree it just like your Father does, for you are made in His image) and expect it to be accomplished based on the above (Proverbs 18:21; Mark 11:23; Psalm 2:7; Romans 10:9; Isaiah 54:17)

For example:

Isaiah 54:17 I declare on the authority of God's word that no weapon formed against my child shall prosper. 

Isaiah 55:1 Gods Word has been spoken over my child and I declare that His Word goes out from His mouth and it shall not return to Him void but it shall accomplish what God pleases and it shall prosper into the thing for which He sent it.

Matthew 18:18 What I declare is in agreement with the Word of God and therefore whatever I bind on earth (sin, addiction, rebellion, lying, etc.) shall be bound in heaven and whatever I loose on earth (God's promises, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, etc. in our children) shall be loosed in heaven.

You might go into many declarations and assertions based on Scripture:

"I been the enemy from coming into try house. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord!"

"I bind the work of the enemy in my child's life. I bind spiritual apathy."

"I loose goodness and mercy upon my children!"

"I loose the Blessings of God on my family!"

"I loose my children from the lusts of this world!"

"I bind the voice of the enemy from speaking to my children."

"I bind ungodly and destructive friendships from my children's lives."

"I loose my family from ungodly desires."

"I rebuke the devil, just as Jesus showed me in Matthew 17:18 and devil you must flee!" Also Luke 10:17

I bind sickness of the body and mind and loose health and healing in my children with the authority given to me in James 5:14 and Mark 16:17-18

If you are in Christ, then you are covered by His blood price, in His family, part of His bride and Church, His child, and you have the authority to do as He did in His name. 

I encourage you to get in the word, highlight Scripture you can declare over your children and pray to the One who actually can get a word into them. For more ideas and specific prayers, get Michael Van Vlymen's book on his website 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

"Toowayhon." Oh yeah, well toowayhon to you too, buddy! Wait...what? What's a toowayhon and why do I want it?

"Toowayhon."  Oh yeah, well toowayhon to you too, buddy! Wait, what's a toowayhon and why should I want it?

Toowayhon is Aramaic (the spoken language in the time of Jesus, in Israel) and in English it is translated to blessings, to be blessed, but the Aramaic conveys so much more.

Toowayhon is the first word in each of the Beatitudes (Blessed are the...) which make up part of the Sermon on the Mount, the messianic Torah, meaning the law or teaching, about the Kingdom of God. It's like the Constitution of God's Kingdom. The Passion Translation footnotes states that this sermon teaches "all that God expects and provides for those who yield to Him. 

Jesus gives us more than laws; He gives us the promises of power to fulfill all that He asks of us." Let that sink in. He says He will give us the power we need to accomplish, do, fulfill all that He asks of us. 

Do you remember when I have talked to you about just saying "yes" to God

We get so concerned about being able to do what He might ask (our fears about what He might want us to do reveal our heart, reveal what we value above God, by the way) that we don't bother to say yes, until we think we have the power to fulfill that yes.

This is good news: He not only asks us to do that which is going to allow us to fulfill our purpose in life (see Psalm 139:16 ) but then He gives us the ability, resources, and power to do it!

And this has what to do with toowayhon? Is that kumbaya's brother? No, why would you ask that? Nevermind. 

Matthew 5:3 in the NKJV reads Blessed (toowayhon) are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Passion Translations reads What happiness comes to you when you feel your spiritual poverty [dependent on God for everything]! For yours is the realm of heaven's kingdom. 

When we get to the point where we realize we are, and welcome being, dependent on God for everything - we receive the blessings, the toowayhon! We have to get it - to know from whom our blessings come (and it isn't the universe - it's the One who created the universe.) 

We are used to the word "blessed," but toowayhon goes beyond "blessed" to refer to being "enriched, happy, fortunate, delighted, blissful, content. 

It means great happiness, prosperity (yes, I said it, face it, God prospers those who love and follow in His ways, take a breath, it's o.k.) abundant goodness, and delight! It's bliss

What it's saying is that toowayhon means to have the capacity to enjoy union and communion with God. 

Enjoy our lives? God wants us to enjoy our lives? I thought we were supposed to take on His suffering... Child, that is a whole 'nother teaching about accepting His sacrifice as applying to our sin but anyhoo

Here's 98 Bible verses that describe God's desire that we have enjoyment in our lives. 

Do you want to have the capacity, the ability, the willingness to enjoy your relationship with God? I do, I say yes. Read Matthew 5-7. 

 I find The Passion Translation (from the Aramaic and Hebrew) particularly meaningful to me, and you might enjoy the Amplified Version (closer to the Greek meaning which like the Hebrew/Aramaic are richer, more poetic languages than English so gives a better understanding of what was intended). A more literal word for word version is the International Standard but remember, literal does not convey context and historical meaning. The version that I first fell in love with was the good old New King James Version, it's familiar to me. 

If you have no idea what I am talking about, read the book of John. It's a good "start here." Follow that with Ephesians, it's a good "how to" or Romans

I recommend the Passion Translation if you want to experience it emotionally or the Amplified version if you want to have more knowledge or explanation. Always read the footnotes, they are "the rest of the story."

Need more help? Visit me at Renewing Your Mind Transformational Christian Counseling and Coaching. Sometimes we need to change our minds, literally rewire our brains, and get rid of the lies we've believed about God, so we can develop the capacity to enjoy our relationship with God. 

Till then, God toowayhon you... you know what I mean.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Pulled in every direction? Here's the answer

This morning I was feeling pulled in every direction. Should I train in this new healing method, or that? Should I focus more on teaching the Word, or building my counseling and coaching business? I read my Bible chapter today, so should I exercise first or go on to my new Bible study that just came in the mail?

Do you know what I mean? There are many good things, but not all are necessary or profitable for right now. (A paraphrase for my own purposes of 1 Corinthians 10:23 of course)

As always happens when I open my Bible - this is what first caught my eye and it directly applied to my need:

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God,[i]praising him always. Follow the example of all that we have imparted to you and the God of peace will be with you in all things. Philipians 4:6-9

Bam.....God is good.

If you're being pulled in every direction, and need help getting refocused, find out about counseling or coaching for teens, adults and children, at

Renewing Your Mind Transformational Counseling and Coaching or email me at

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Grief, loss, and mourning: What do I do?

Grief, loss and mourning are an unavoidable part of life and living. We all experience it to some degree, but no one is quite sure of the right way to navigate it. That's because while grief is a common to us all, and there are feelings and coping means we all share, grief remains a very individual and unique experience in many ways. There is no right way to grieve, but we all sense we can ease the process and complete it in a satisfying way...or stall, even halt, its progress and our ability to heal. 

Grief is a normal response to loss. It may be momentary based on the the extent of the loss, or continue or an extended period of time. We suffer minor losses every day, perhaps calling them inconveniences. Other losses are more profound and may result in a deep sense of mental anguish or grief, and sorrow.  While there are various levels of loss, the feelings of grief we experience are real at every level. 
Examples of Losses may include and not limited to:
  1. Close Family Member (spouse/parent/child/sibling) including Divorce
  2. Friendships and Pets
  3. Health
  4. Home/Personal Items/Comforts of Life
  5. Jobs/Clients/Contracts/Prestige/Promotions
  6. Time/Sleep/Missed Appointments
We may begin with feeling shock, especially if there was no anticipation of the loss, such as in an accident. It seems unbelievable and we want to deny that it is happening. We go numb, performing daily tasks on auto-pilot, going through the motions and only doing what is immediate and essential.  
Shock can buffer us for a time from being overpowered by our emotions and allowing us to continue to do what needs to be done. It can be a comfort to deny what has happened and live in avoidance and numbness, or medicating and dampening their emotions, but this can lead to being stuck in that moment of grieving and never truly moving on or forward. Grief must have an outlet or these stalled emotions may cause physical or emotional problems. 
When the shock wears off, and we must fact the reality and aftermath of what has happened, some rely on their faith and confidence in who God is and what He offers to the grieving. Others become unable to function or unable to begin the process of grieving, staying in a continual state of loss. Some people may travel the road of grief in a straight line always moving towards the goal of peace, others take detours or circle back, but the journey is unique to the individual. 
Common emotions are helplessness and confusion. You may discover you were emotionally unprepared, even if the loss was anticipated. While there may be “stages” of grief, going through each stage does not mean grieving has necessarily ended or that you will not experience one or more stages again. There are many events that may continue to trigger varying levels of grief as we move through time, for some these may result in the remembrance of treasured memories, for others a re-experiencing of loss. 
Common questions we all ask are: will I recover, will I get to the point it won’t hurt so much, will I regain some sense of normalcy, be able to cope, stop grieving, get through birthdays and holidays, and how long will this last? The answer is that there is no definitive answer for everyone because we each look at loss from a different perspective over time, and we each have a different level of willingness to move on from pain.  For some, the pain keeps a sense of connection with our loved one or even acts as penance for guilt, or punishment, or becomes confused with letting go of the love and the good memories, instead of simply letting go of the pain, guilt and blame. 
The answer to, will my life return to normal, is no, because we will never be the same and things will not go back to what we considered normal, however there is a new normal, and it has the possibility of being hopeful again.
In your new normal, life as you knew it before your loss will not be the same, however you will continually adjust to life as it is now. You may doubt it will happen, but remember that adjustments take time, and it is more helpful to allow yourself to simply begin to accept and adapt, instead of trying to rush forward and adopt a certain feeling, belief or way of thinking, or make permanent choices based on how you feel or are processing information, right now.
You have never experienced this particular and unique loss before, even if you have experienced other losses. Do not put yourself, or allow others to put you, on a particular time schedule to adjust to this loss and embrace the reality of your present life.
The pain inevitably lessens in some ways even if we do not want it to, and it lessens even more when we are willing to be in it, experience it (not necessarily all at once or in a short period of time, but when it presents itself) and even allow it to impart positive meaning to the loss. If you allow it to, this wound in your soul, like those in your body, will heal. 
God designed us to heal, but we can certainly choose not to. If we heal, our thoughts about our loved one, or what we lost, will remain in some form, however true healing will bring about insight, wisdom, gratitude, and peace.
There is hope for the lowly in spirit, the depressed and the broken hearted. Jesus promised, 
“The mighty Spirit of Lord Yahweh is wrapped around me because Yahweh has anointed me, as a messenger to preach good news to the poor (humbly, lowly, depressed). He sent me to heal the wounds of the brokenhearted, to tell captives, “You are free,”and to tell prisoners, “Be free from your darkness.” Luke 4:18 The Passion Translation

What happens if we don’t allow our process of mourning and instead remain in a state of continual grief? Often the result is anger towards others, ourselves and especially God, bitterness, an inability to experience joy, withdrawal from relationships that matter to us and from the people who need us, and we may either immerse ourselves in our work or feel unable to focus on work. We may create shrines in our home to keep our loss in the present, be unable to engage in holidays and happy rituals because believe we cannot gather in that treasured place or with those loved ones. As a result, the loss takes over our lives, defines us, and truly entraps us. There are few loved ones who would want their death to trap us in grief.
We can begin to release ourselves from what was, begin to adjust to the new reality, and even allow for new traditions, relationships and futures, by remembering what was good, finding meaning in the loss, and cultivating gratitude for what was, is, and is to come. 
We must allow ourselves to begin to be comforted, even by God. Do not expect for the loss to be “undone” or expect to quickly stop feeling pain, but do expect that Jesus will keep His word to never leave you or forsake you on this road you will travel. It may feel lonely, that others do not understand, but He will, He does. Lean in to the grief, and lean up to Him.  When you mourn with the Lord, you will find the comfort you long for. Matthew 5:4.
The following definitions are sourced from Webster’s 1928 American Dictionary of the English Language. 
  • Loss - to be separated from a person or thing, to have no knowledge of where a person or thing is, to forfeit or be deprived of, waste or squander, people, property, money, health, reputation, destruction, ruin, defeat, waste of time, labor, or possessions. It is not a detriment when we lose bad company or evil habits.
  • Grief - the pain of mind produced by loss, misfortune, injury or evils of any kind; sorrow; regret. We experience grief by sympathy for others. It may be occasioned by our own misconduct, sorrow or regret that we have done something wrong; pain accompanying repentance; when we have offended or injured a friend or the Supreme Being.
  • Sorrow - the uneasiness or pain of mind which is produced by the loss of any good, real or supposed, or the disappointment in the expectation of good or happiness, loss of friends or loved one, in misfortune, calamity to friends or country. Frustrated hopes, sad, depressed, dejected.
  • Mourn - to express grief or sorrow with weeping or audible sounds, sobs, sighs, or inwards silent grief. To wear the customary habit (traditional clothing, behavior or time) of mourning.
  • Comfort - relief from distress of the mind, hope and consolation; from pain, ease, rest, cold, distress or uneasiness of the body. That which gives strength, support or cheers in distress, difficulty, danger or infirmity. New strength and quiet invigoration.
Grief and sorrow are a normal response to any loss, of any kind. They are natural and even necessary emotions. Grieving enables you to sustain yourself and adjust to loss. You are expected to grieve when you experience a loss.  How you do so is up to you, it’s a moment in your life, unique to you, and one that you must personalize and give to it your own meaning.  
Mourning is your outward response, the voice of  grief. Mourning is what you say and do not say, what you wear, where you go, what you do or do not do, and how long you remain in that state. It is individual but may bring comfort to mourn in ways traditional to your family, your faith, your community or to others that also seem meaningful and helpful to you. 
Give yourself the space and time to mourn. Allow yourself to be comforted in different ways. Allowing comfort does not mean forgetting who or what you lost, that you don’t care, that you are “all o.k.” or that you are anything other than choosing to not dwell only in pain, all the time. 
Treat yourself the way you would someone else who is in mourning: with compassion and kindness. Let go of what you should need, should be, and do or do not deserve. Try not to compare yourself and your grieving process with your expectations about grief and mourning. Your coping methods may not be the same as someone else. You are not the same person as you were before the loss, so try not to compare you, to you.
Accept that the normal range of emotions, experiences, feelings and sensations, beliefs and cognitive processes are wide and deep, and that you fit in there somewhere. While it is not helpful, and is even harmful, to continually focus on the emotional, physical, and spiritual pain of loss, it is just as detrimental to avoid it completely or try to shut it down every time, or deny that it is a natural and necessary part of grieving and healing. 
You wouldn’t ignore a physical injury or deny it exists, demand it heal faster than natural, judge yourself for having pain or evidence of the injury, and neither should you with grief. Acknowledge and care of your needs, your wounds, even as they change over time. Find constructive ways to heal, to participate in the process, not rushing, but also not stagnating. 
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is accept help from others. We don’t want to be a burden  but when we don’t allow others to comfort us in some way, we actually create a burden for them, in that it’s more difficult for them to relieve the pain and helplessness they also feel. It’s ok to say, “I don’t know what I need.” Start with allowing friends and loved ones to initially do some minor tasks or chores, like dishes, preparing or serving food, walking or feeding pets, doing laundry, writing cards, making calls, etc. 
Take time off of work, socializing, business and focus temporarily on meeting your basic needs, including food, water, warmth, rest, security and safety. The authors of What’s Your Griefi website add, 
“While many people think coping with life after loss is only about confronting and coping with difficult grief emotions, we believe that coping encapsulates anything that helps you feel better and gives you a boost of positive emotion.”
Don’t be afraid to continue to love and feel bonded to a loved one - without apology. After my son died I continued to celebrate his birthday for a time, I still wanted cards from family members or some acknowledgement that he lived even though he died; I talked about him and how his short life affected and changed mine; and I continue to place his ornament on the Christmas tree. A death does not negate their life or their place in your heart. 
You will continue to develop your relationship - the way you relate to them - for the rest of your life and I encourage you to honor that relationship in varying ways as you move forward. For the some the greatest honor may be to meet grief with the courage to feel what must be felt and to dare to grow into a new life with new joys and sorrows. 
If you feel you are not moving forward over time, and you need help, reach out to friends, clergy, and grief groups and counselors or coaches. We cannot all be experts in all things and often we need help in learning to adapt to a new normal or learn more effective ways to cope, let go of the pain, and embrace a new way of living. 

For more help, visit Renewing Your Mind Transformational Counseling and Coaching.
This blog post relies heavily on chapter one of the NCCA course, Joy in the Midst of Mourning, by Dorothy M. Dye, PhD, and the article, “Seven Ways to Treat Yourself With Kindness While Grieving” on the website, What’s your Grief?

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Is marital abuse a Gospel issue?

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

In the U.S. currently, abuse legally refers to "physical or mental maltreatment which results in mental, emotional, sexual or physical injury. For example child abuse, elder abuse, spousal abuse and animal abuse."

We all agree, abuse is bad and someone needs to do something about it. But, is abuse a Gospel issue?

Pastor Mika Edmundson, 
Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused puts it like this,
When Christ submitted Himself to this experience at the cross, He made abuse a gospel issue. It was part of the oppression that He bore at His cross and overcame at the resurrection. So when we fail to recognize various forms of abuse as “gospel issues” we lose an important aspect of the freedom Christ has won for us. He came to reveal God’s great hatred of abuse and His great love for the victims of it. As pastors, we must help God’s people understand the solidarity, empathy, and deliverance that His risen Son holds out to victims of abuse. In Christ, they have a savior who understands exactly what they are going through because He has been there Himself.

Jesus was mocked, spit on, scourged, blindfolded, beaten with fists and with reed whip, slapped, nailed to a cross, publicly humiliated and ridiculed, suffered, talked about behind his back in his home town, called names, verbally grilled and questioned constantly, his answers received with derision and disbelief, sentenced and punished despite being declared not guilty, despised, loved and praised one day then accused and abused soon after, had his friends turn their backs on him when he needed them the most. 

He gets it in a way many of do not.

Jesus came to do many things, one of which was to set the burdened and battered free.

Jesus came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written, 
God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind,To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!” (Luke 4:14, The Message)

There are two levels (at a minimum) to this purpose and message. Yes, spiritual freedom, but Jesus also "cared about oppression in a physical and relational sense."

Contributors of the book, 
Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused, consisting of law enforcement, abuse advocates, attorneys, speakers, interventionists, counselors and pastors agreed the “captive and oppressed,” must include not only those who are in spiritual bondage to sin, but also those who live in fear of abuse in their homes or churches, those who are raped, those who are preyed upon as minors, and others like them.

What if the abuser says they are a Christian, asks for prayer, cries, says they are trying to change? Aren't we supposed to forgive 70 times 7?

If someone believes they have a relationship with God but fails to guard his words then his heart is drifting away and his religion is shallow and empty. James 1:26

If your fellow believer sins against you, you must go to that one privately and attempt to resolve the matter. If he responds, your relationship is restored. But if his heart is closed to you, then go to him again, taking one or two others with you. You’ll be fulfilling what the Scripture teaches when it says, ‘Every word may be verified by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ And if he refuses to listen, then share the issue with the entire church in hopes of restoration. If he still refuses to respond, disregarding the fellowship of his church family, you must disregard him unrepentant sinner. (Matthew 18:15-18 TPT)

So what do we do? We have had teaching in the Church that God hates divorce (Malachi 2) and many women (and men) have been discouraged from legally protecting themselves from a spouse who has broken their vows to love (I speak of action, not emotion.) However, as often happens, the "rest of the story" is somehow left out.

To be clear, yes God hates divorce, that was not in His perfect will for us. That does not mean there is not Biblical cause for divorce, and that's not the focus of this particular blog post -that's a whole n'other thing. 

If abuse is a Gospel issue, then how do we respond as believers to abuse and abusers?

Part two of the Malachi verse is what else God hates: violence and treachery against your spouse:

This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and sighing, because the Lord no longer regards your offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why [does He reject it]?” Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously. Yet she is your marriage companion and the wife of your covenant [made by your vows]. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth.................................
For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong and violence,” says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore keep watch on your spirit, so that you do not deal treacherously [with your wife].” (Malachi 2:13-16 AMP)

God hates violence and also treachery (abuse) against our spouses. 

Guess what else God hates:
Cowards and unbelieving (or incredulous about God) abominable (those who are devoid of character and personal integrity sexually, and practice or tolerate immorality) - murderers - sorcerers (those who prepare or use magical remedies, intoxicating drugs, or poisons) - idolaters and occultists (those who practice and teach false religions) - and liars (those who knowingly deceive and twist truth.) (Revelation 21:8 AMP)

Based on the above descriptions, abuse can include

  • not coming to your defense when others physically or verbally attack you (perhaps even joining in or agreeing); 
  • ridiculing and undermining you, even for your faith in God; 
  • being sexually abusive, manipulative; 
  • being unfaithful (sexually including pornography; emotionally; financially; spiritually; etc.); 
  • being verbally, emotionally, sexually or physically abusive; 
  • pressuring you, forcing you, or administering to you without permission drugs of any kind (legal, pharmaceutical, or otherwise); 
  • routinely putting other people and desires in place of you (and before God) such as being a workaholic, overspending time with friends, spending joint money without agreement; over-focusing on t.v. or computer games instead of time with a spouse or children; 
  • lying 

God hates it all and so must we if we are to reflect His image.

What are we to do then when we become aware that someone we know is suffering under abuse? 

Pray for their abuser to repent? Of course. 

Pray for the abused to have relief - absolutely. 

Is that the full scope of our responsibility?

1. Start with comfort:

Comfort those in any affliction with the comfort we share through our relationship with Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:3)

2. Move on to action:

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy (Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV)

Isaiah 1:17 says "Learn what it means to do what is good."  
What is doing good according to God? Isaiah continues with examples - examples that are not exhaustive or inclusive but serve to point us to those who need help:
Seek righteousness and justice, rescue the oppressed (also translated vindicate the victim), uphold the rights of the fatherless and defend the widow's cause!
James 1 - for those who don't understand the New Testament is fulfillment of the Old Testament, (it's just a blank piece of paper separating the books, ya'll):
Don't just listen to the Word and don't live out the message you hear! (v.22)
True spirituality (since you're not religious - you're spiritual, this is for you) that is pure in the eyes of our Father God is to make a difference in the lives of the orphans, the fatherless, the comfortless and the widows in their troubles, and to refuse to be corrupted by the values of the world. (v.27, TPT)
Does that mean simply blog about it, post on FaceBook about it, or spread fear and hatred about other people, or... does it mean get off your laptop and actually do something helpful. Even  something that involves a sacrifice perhaps of your time, your money, your belongings or even, your plans? 

What do you say? What will you say? 

Live your faith. Be a follower of Christ, be a doer of the Word. Look for opportunities to help in a real way, in a way that makes a difference in the day to day life of someone in your town, your church, your neighborhood or may be your home. 

Look for the signs of abuse and ask questions. 

If you need help or support through counseling, visit Renewing Your Mind Transformational Counseling and Coaching or email me at

Here are resources you can have on hand to find more help and contact numbers for your local Family Support Network, Support Within Reach, and more:

Help for women:

Help for men:

Saying yes to God

Photo by Drahomír Posteby-Mach on Unsplash
This is a repost from June of 2019 which caught my eye because I am re-reading this book.

Isn't it amazing that you can read or watch something, feel you have gotten everything out of it, then revisit it later, and there it is, fresh insights.

 I'm still in the season of "yes" to God nearly a year later and I can truly say that every "yes" has been worth it:

I'm spending time reading Kevin Zadai's book, The Agenda of Angels, which is eye-opening and well worth my time, and he was speaking to me about being yielded to the Lord. Have you noticed that God softly asks us to do something just outside our comfort zone, keeping it easy for quite a while, but is still asking us to do something for Him, that we probably wouldn't do on our own?

How do you respond? Do you say, "Ask someone else, Lord." Or, "What if they think I'm weird?"
Let me assure you, you're weird, I'm weird, we are all weird.

Yet, those of us who initially say "No, Lord, no way," are often the same people begging God for an encounter with Him, or His angels, or a near-death experience, or a waking vision, etc. We want God to move big for us, but we can't even tell a stranger (who we will never see again and does not know one of our friends or family members)  that God knows their problem and He loves them.

The great thing about God, is that He makes it so easy for us. He really does all the heavy lifting. The most difficult part for us, is saying, "Yes."

Sometimes, I say yes right away (when I am being in my smart mode.) The cool thing is that I get that sense that God is happy, and proud of me right away and the weird looks of not understanding why I am giving a stranger money or going back to give the over payment back to the store clerk or telling a stranger God loves them just don't matter because my Heavenly Father is proud of me!

However it's not always the simple thing because we all need to grow a little more today than we did yesterday

When God has asked me to give something up that we both know is not good for me or my life, the biggest struggle for me is that I don't want to suffer. So, instead I dangle and twist, making myself miserable with anxiety about taking that step for weeks or months at times. I begin to pray for God to help me to obey Him, to help me want what He wants for my life, and then suddenly, I wake up one morning and I just know, that I know, that I know that I can do this.

And I say yes. And suddenly it's all easy, it feels so right and natural to be doing just what I am doing. I wonder why I resisted for so long. Of course God is right! Duh.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer. 29:11

In fact, He makes it easy...our part is simply to say "Yes." 

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30

For support in saying yes to God, visit Renewing Your Mind Transformational Counseling and Coaching or email me at

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Renewing Your Mind Transformational Counseling & Coaching is available

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

A lot has changed since I began this blog.

God called me back into the ministry of counseling and called me out of bondage. Find out more on

Renewing Your Mind Transformational Counseling and Coaching.

There will be some surprises here for some, others may be not so much. We all think our masks are on just right. You will notice the name change right off the back. It's strange saying it out loud, but I'm getting used to it. I'm getting used to a lot of things, good things, things other people take for granted because it's actually "normal" or what we want to be normal but isn't normal for far too many of us.

Read on.

"I'm Dr. Karen. I'm a counselor, coach, and speaker. I also wrote a little book about my own journey in letting go of the thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual lies that were creating depression, anxiety, chronic pain and fatigue, and how that resulted in my losing 40 lbs. without really trying. I called this 90 page book Effortless Weightloss: Small Changes That Lead to Extraordinary Results! and it actually became a best-seller - so it must mean that I am not alone in wanting something different, something more.
That was the first step in my journey to reclaim my voice, my body, my mind. A few years ago my marriage to a very unhappy man with a narcissistic personality, went from difficult but manageable, to absolutely intolerable, both to me and more importantly, my children. It wasn't until I realized the counselor (me) needed counseling, that a book was placed into my hands that made it impossible for me to deny that this was abuse - not like abuse, not at times abusive - but abuse. 

It was Why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men by Lundy Bancroft. I felt like someone wrote my life down and didn't tell me about it. And I realized I was not alone, in fact, I was one of many highly functioning Christian women (and non-Christians) who was living in abuse and telling themselves it's just a difficult marriage and at least it's better than it used to be (this week).

I went through all the cycles that some of you are very familiar with: his denial that my experience was real (gaslighting), anger then physical intimidation, disappearing with no contact, controlling the money, threats and accusations, and then -  when I was packing up to finally - this time I mean it - leave, the inevitable tears, apologies and love bombing - but no actual change, i.e., no true repentance

Why? Because the cycle always ended up with his belief that his behavior and choices were in some way my fault. He wouldn't do this if I hadn't done that, whatever that look was I gave him or words I said that he knows what they "really" mean...I would see the shift in his mind, his eyes narrow, and I'd think, "here we go again."

I was trauma bonded, I wanted the lies to be true, addicted to Dr. Jekyll and disgusted by Mr. Hyde. I wasn't outside looking in the way I was with my clients, I was in the thick of it and it was spiraling out of my control. At its worst I realized I was exhibiting symptoms of PTSD, and that scared me even more. I said more times than I can count, "How can we be having the same conversations and arguments 20 years later? I really thought we had a breakthrough." 

Honestly, if my children had not shared with me that I was not "keeping it from them," I was not really "protecting them," and in reality, they were hurting, scared, and affected, no matter how hard I tried to make up the imbalance by being the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect Christian...I would still be trying, and I would still be failing. I would still be hearing my ex-husband say, "What about you?"

 In fact,  it was God who changed my thinking by saying into my spirit, "If changing you would change him, it would have already happened. It's not about you. Believing it's you makes it easy for him to stay the same. He doesn't want to change, he doesn't want help, not now. But if you trust Me, I'll help you." 

That was the key, my ex-husband had coping strategies for life that were working for him on some level he needed them too, so why would he change? We don't change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the risk of changing. 

God reminded me that the only person who was ready to truly change was the only person I actually could change: me. He asked me to trust Him and it was one scariest times of my life, because I was so used to relying on me, me, me. So I held my breath for what seemed like a long time, then I said, "Yes." And I've never doubted that decision, not even once.

During that year of getting out, He comforted me, brought me into intense times of prayer and fasting, required me to be really honest with my pastor, my friends, and my ministry licensing head. He led me to study what was happening neurologically that enabled change, and how changing my beliefs, thoughts, and emotions had a physical effect on my body (freeing me from being overweight and being anxious) as well as an effect on my ability to cope, make decisions, and even express and receive healthy love. 

I learned from practitioners trained in neuro-plasticity how to actually change the unconcsious patterns that had been keeping me not only stuck, but unaware that I was stuck, emotionally, spiritually, physically and even financially.

I was able to systematically let go of those self-limiting beliefs about...everything - and I mean really let go not just talk about letting go and saying I had let go, but feeling like I was neurologically a different person after each session, someone for whom it made no more sense to tolerate abuse than it did to tolerate slamming my hand in a drawer! Everything changed - my relationships with God, money, family, and especially with my kids. 

I also learned how letting go of relying only on me frees me up to accept love, help, money, friendship and success in every area of my life! There were so many blessings God had for me but I didn't know how to receive them, so it's like I sat there begging for help but not even seeing that He was sending me help and offering me help constantly -  but I had these blocks and blinders up that didn't allow me to perceive it! 

Jesus Messiah approached a man who had been laying in misery for 38 years. He asked him one question: "Do you truly want to be healed?" 

We might think, of course, that's what he wants, duh. What Jesus really meant was, are you ready to let go of the identity you have formed by being (your problem here)? 

To heal, it has to have become more painful to stay the same than to begin to change. We have to be more afraid of where we've been than where we might go. That man was healed that very day.

How about you? Are you truly willing to be healed? 
If so visit me at Renewing Your Mind Counseling and Coaching, or 
​or email me at

Friday, February 7, 2020

God has placed great value on you

God has placed great value on every person. In fact, before you were born, before the foundations of the world were laid, He planned you and wrote all He intended for your life in a book, according to Psalm 39. It's full of joy, and blessing, and love. why don't we all experience that?

That's the tricky thing about being made in His image: like Him, we possess free will. We have the walk in everything that He predestined us to by making our own choice to love Him in return, or reject His love, and Him, and all that He offers.

Like any other child, He does His to demonstrate right from wrong, how to have a joy-filled life and make choices that result in blessings, or we can do it our way on our own as we see fit. That's ok. And may be up until the point of death, we can be ok with that.

We don't have God's blessings but we are doing ok working this system to get the money and success that we've been convinced is the goal, the dream, our purpose. Then we get to the sticky points. This is not the end. This wasn't even the beginning. This was choosing what's next and learning to let go, love, trust and enter in to the most rewarding and fulfilling relationship possible - with our actual Creator. Before us are two eternal choices, life or death. Choose life.

Welcome to spiritual adulting.

He paid a high price to ensure we had the option to truly love and be loved, or to stay right where we are, and all that comes with that decision. Only a human was eligible to take on the sin debt of all humans, and only God could actually accomplish it. Jesus was both...He could and He did. All we have to do is accept it. Is it available to everyone, of course, but that doesn't mean we receive it. It's like a gift sitting there unopened that was ours all along, we knew it was ours, but we never took the action of opening it and using it, so basically, it is as if we never had it at all. Our choice, always our choice.

Opening that gift opens a world of benefits, one of which is the security we really can safely and effectively fulfill God's purpose for us - everything written down in our books. This security and love drives out all fear!  No one in heaven is limiting us, in fact, our success in being and doing all we were created for is guaranteed! That's the trick though, isn't. Believing someone else might know what is better and even best for us, have more information than us, have actual control instead of the way we try to constantly take control - and decide their way is likely the better way. That's the limit for most of us - giving up our limited plan and our illusion of control for true power, true love, true success because it means someone else is the boss of me.

So I can keep making plans of my own and praying for God to bless them and prosper them and hope my plans actually are what is best for me...or, I can guarantee success by seeking what His plans are.

They are always good, they are always for me and never against me, they are always designed to give me a great future and a hope. I think I know that, but what act on is the believe that I know what I truly need inside my spirit, what my soul longs for. How can I? I don't have all the information. I'm just trying to get my needs met, trying to heal what's broken, what those people did to me, back then.
There is one who knows what my real needs are, what my purpose is, what will bring me joy and ecstasy and even financial blessing (yes, I said financial - look it up, it's in the Book).

The difference is that without the relationship with the source of blessings (He has a name and it is not "Universe") the more money we have, the less joy and sense of purpose we experience. That's what we do though, we worship the creation instead of the Creator.

With Him, the more joy and purpose we have, and the more we handle money His way and in relationship with Him, the more of all that, including money, we have at our disposal as well. The reason I am dwelling on money here is because the world system has us convinced that is our ultimate goal - money, power, success. Money by any means is safety and security and power. How is that working for your spirit? If that were the case the richest people in the world would feel the happiest, safest, and filled with purpose, but that is not the case. There is nothing wrong with money, it's our serving, and grasping at, and seeking more and more money that keeps us in bondage.

Money is necessary in this system, granted, acknowledged, buys lots of great things. I am not arguing the necessity of money. I am arguing what making money a god does to your spirit and to your finances.

Money with God results in open hands - open to receive and open to give. Money on our own results in clutched hands, closed to give and closed to receive. Sure we give to charity, give out a few bucks to the man on the corner, make ourselves feel good, but never more than we feel we can afford, because after all, it's up to us make the money, manage the money, and decide what to do with the money. It's all on us.

What if it didn't have to be all on us? What then? Now we are getting into another teaching. After all, one of our problems is that we want God's blessing without attributing those blessing to Him or being willing to be accountable to Him after we receive them. Just show me the money and get out of my life.

So let's start there. With Him, and being truthful with our relationship with Him, and whether or not we want more.

Please sir, may I have some more? Why yes, yes you may!

Psalm 39
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Galatians 3:13-15
Romans 8:31
Jeremiah 29:11
Matthew 6:33
Romans 1:25

Thank you to Dr. Kevin Zadai, whose Introduction to The Agenda of Angels sparked the thoughts leading to this blog post.