Heal from the past

Have you ever just wanted to be okay?

With permission, I’m sharing a letter I received that is so powerful, revealing the angst of healing from the past. I love her words, and I know you will resonate. Have you ever just wanted to be okay?

I read Thin Places, and many of the details are my same story: growing up in the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s, sexually abused at age five, teaching middle school, church planting, married to a good man who tirelessly works to make the second half of my life better than the first half.

I recently told a group…

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When God Doesn’t Seem Good

I’m reading through old posts, and I came across this one based on a letter I received from a reader. It’s heartbreaking, and I wish I could jump through the screen to hug this girl Amy. I did the best I could by writing her back. But even then, the question lingers. Is God good? When all this bad stuff happens? How do we reconcile a good God with painful circumstances?

I’m sure I didn’t answer her question completely, but what I shared came from hardwon wisdom walking this crazy earth. I pray her honesty (and…

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Why God’s First Words Can Change Your Life

Genesis 1:3 records the first words (that we know) God spoke.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Four amazing words.





God loves light. He created it as the first thing. The light scattered and shattered the darkness. It revealed what was and what would be. In a very real way, light and truth are married. The God of light wants His children to live in the light, to speak and inhabit truth. To run away from that which holds us in darkness, particularly devastating secrets.


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What If?

The six-year-old awakes, cloudy-eyed and confused. Someone is touching her. Her mommy told her that no one should ever touch her in those places, the places her bathing suit covers. As soon as her eyes flutter open, the babysitter flusters away, and she is left feeling shame. But she has no words to say why or even understand what the boy did. All she knows is that fear has entered her heart, her home. And she feels dirty.

That week her mom notices something is off. The normally carefree daughter is either subdued or she bursts…

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When we protect perpetrators, we pervert the gospel

Prayer appreciated again. Heart is heavy. And yet I refuse to capitulate.

I will shout it: sexual abuse is soul-killing and the church has for far too long kept it hushed, re-victimizing victims and protecting perpetrators under the guise of cheap grace, while simultaneously chucking grace when it comes to the victims whose lives will bear the scars for years to come.

We see this kind of pattern in the recent news. The ones who perpetrated get instant grace from segments of the Christian community, but the victims often times experience shunning or silence from those same…

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God sends us to hard places

I’ve often quoted Genesis 50:20 when I talk about being healed from the past. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today.” The gist? Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, is now a high leader in Egypt, responsible for saving the lives of many in famine. He is speaking to his brothers. He simply speaks the truth here: Yes, you meant to hurt me, but in the long run, God can…

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Josh Duggar and the Problem of Easy Forgiving

When I saw the news yesterday about Josh Duggar, his subsequent confession and decision to leave the Family Research Council over it, my heart hurt. Not because I was surprised. But because this kind of pattern is all too familiar.

When sexual abuse occurs in faith communities, typically it is the perpetrator who is protected for the sake of the community’s reputation. Victims are encouraged (coerced?) to spit out a hasty forgiveness so everyone can heal and get back to “normal.”  This further victimizes the victims, leaving them to fend for themselves in silence….

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I was raped, now I hate sex. Now what?

I received this email from someone struggling with sex after rape:

When I was in my twenties, I was gang raped by 6 men. I started counseling but stopped. I felt that unless the counselor had ever been raped, how could she possibly understand what I was feeling or how to help me?

I thought I could deal with it on my own. I started drinking every chance I got, going out to bars and clubs, getting into fist fights with both men and women. I drank every chance I got and…

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Far from Jesus?

This week I wrote about my anger with God. It’s pretty darn honest. And I continue to work through my frustration. I certainly haven’t arrived at a pretty conclusion yet, but I do know this truth: God is good. Whether I feel He is or not. Whether my circumstances dictate otherwise (in my mind).

Which goes to show this is a battle of the mind, isn’t it? And the heart.

In my anger, I’ve distanced myself from Jesus. And yet He so gently leads me back, closer to Him through compassion, through…

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Win The #DayIMetJesus and read it before it’s released!

Baker Books has five ARCs they’d like YOU to have. What is an ARC? It’s an Advance Readers Copy of the book. It looks like the book, though it’s not in its exact final form. They send these copies to places like Publisher’s Weekly so we can get reviews by the time the book’s released on March 3rd.

How would you like an ARC?

Simply comment on this post telling briefly about the day YOU met Jesus, along with your email address written extended like this: Name @ Website.com. Random.org will pick the five winners, and I’ll…

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