Jen Answers

by cwoadmin on February 25, 2012


Questions for Jen

About Jen

I am a 23 year old lady who is struggling to put my past behind me. Two years back a friend of mine forced himself on me and every since then I feel unworthy and insecure about myself…. what do I do to forget my past?
Anonymous

Dear Sis,
I am so thankful that you wrote this. I know it is so difficult, but sharing so that others may come up alongside and love you is so important for healing.
It is incredible that you can identify the feelings of unworthiness and insecurity… These are hallmarks of the trauma you have endured, but God CAN and will heal the rest as you surrender all the pain to Him.
I think one of the hardest things in life is the knowledge that we must sometimes face the consequences and pain of someone else’s sin. It is often much less difficult to own up to the mistakes we make, or the hurt we cause. It is quite a different thing to wade through the pain that comes when someone hurts us for his or her own gratification and selfish desires… especially when they are a friend or family member, someone we trust.
I cannot promise you or even suggest that you will forget your past and this horrible event… But I can tell you that God can end the lies of unworthiness, fear, shame, and insecurity and the far reaching consequences of believing those untruths about yourself. When we allow Jesus in and commit to learning who He says we are in Him, the pain of memories, and reliving trauma in our minds, loose their sting over time. God can restore all that the locusts have stolen and more! He can use all of this for good, and turn the ugly ashes into beauty for your life. Honest Sis, I am not making this up and this is not an empty pep talk; I have received it in my own life and witnessed it in the lives of others. I am able to write to you in love and the joy of knowing what God can do in your life, because of what I have seen Him do in my own! God is able to do ALL things, and He wants to walk this blessing out in your life too!
If you haven’t already received Christ as your Savior, I encourage you to do that now. Pray and ask Him to be Lord of your life, to forgive your sins and let Him know that you want to spend eternity with Him! Guess what, eternity starts now! That means that He will begin a good work in you today that He intends to complete! As the Holy Spirit walks with you and is carried in you, a whole new world will open up as you begin to witness bits of heaven here and now, through the transforming work He does in your life.
God wants to restore to you the joy of your salvation, and renew a right Spirit within you! A Spirit that believes and knows that you are the precious daughter of the Most High, whole and complete in Him, of great value and worth, and one that can trust that He has a future and hope for you that is beyond your imagination. He wants you to know, to the depths of your heart, that you ARE loveable and beautiful. You are not the sum of someone’s sin! YOU are the one He died for, the bride and gift He has prepared for His own Son! That is who you are! Nothing… NOTHING has been taken from you, ruined about you, or changed about how precious you are. You are washed by the blood of the Lamb, free of blemish or mark, one worthy of being cherished and held in gentle hands. You are His beautiful workmanship, lovingly made and completely enjoyed.
There are wonderful ministries that can help to heal from such trauma and set our spiritual feet back on a path to realizing all that God has for us and how He loves us. One that comes to mind is called, Restoring the Foundations. You can find Healing House Teams on their website at rtfi.org. If there is one close to you, I encourage you to contact them for help. If not, there are many wonderful Christian organizations geared toward helping women heal, and you may want to talk with your pastor to find ministries in your local area. If this is not possible, please contact us through “Dear Jen” so we can help get you connected with the support you need.
Know that you are loved dear Sister, and this pain does not need to define your life!
He is able to do all things,
Jen
1/23/13

Hello! Since the New Year has begun I have been feeling very lonely and rejected. I am a student but I don’t have friend’s like most people. I don’t have a lot of people encouraging me and sometimes I feel like its ok I am strong I can handle it. My pastor is my step mom so I cant really talk to her about things nor can she really mentor me. But lately I find myself comparing myself with my friend who seems to have it all going for her. I know that’s bad and what I am not supposed to do, but how can I not feel down about who God has made me to be? When she is always telling me how someone has blessed her or what God is doing in her life…. It sometimes makes me wonder why God is not in my life like that ….not only that I sometimes feel alittle rejected by her she has so many other people in her life and I know i she cant always be there for me….How can I be her friend without being so envious?….I feel very confused about God and my relationships…

Dear Sis,
Last night at Bible study, 1 John 1:7 was shared, and a part of that verse stuck out to me that never has before. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Wow, do you see in there what I see? “We have fellowship with one another.” This is your promise from God as you walk with Him, seek Him, and love Him. He knows our hearts, He made us relational!
You are right, comparing yourself to your friend or entertaining jealous feelings, is treading on dangerous ground. It is even liable to break up a good and solid friendship in your life. First things first, confess this to God and ask for forgiveness. Then ask Him to help you focus on Him, this is the relationship you should desire above all else and He is very willing to help your heart shift priorities. Ask Him too, to show you who you are in Christ, how He sees you, you will be astonished at the beautiful woman He has created you to be! In that knowledge, you will find fulfillment, worth and much encouragement and joy!
Have you thought to tell your friend how you long to have friends too? Or to even ask her to pray with you and seek God about it together? I imagine it would be a great privilege to pray this with you and witness what God does in your life!
Right now, you may feel like you are alone, that socially it is difficult for you, but life doesn’t have to stay that way. God is bigger! He is able to make you strong in your weakness! As you focus on Him, your relationship with Him, and who He says that you are in Him, you will see people are drawn to Jesus in you – and relationships/friendships that come from that place are the very best.
We will be praying that God brings you deep and abiding friendships, He values that or His Word would not contain so many wonderful examples and even admonishments to spend time with other Christians! Be encouraged, dear Sis, God is able!
In His love,
Jen
01/14/13

My english is not very good so I hope you will understand me. Itś a little hard for me to write such an intimate things to somebody I dont know, but these things are so hard for me, that I can’t tell it to my friends.
I have some problems, that are repeating over and over again. I am tired of these things – sins.
First of all. I think that my biggest problem is that sometimes I can’t believe God that he loves me. I know that he loves every one of his child, and I am one of them, but sometimes this is a problem for me. I want to be special for Him, sometimes I feel so ordinary and this feeling ruins me. Am I ordinary for God? Because for people sometimes I am. I know that this sounds very selfish, but now its my biggest problem. Part of me wants to do big things for God and this part believes that I can, but the second part thinks that I am not good enough in anything. I know that my value isn’t in achievments and so on, my brain knows it, but my heart does not. So this is my problem with God…Also this is hard even with people. I think that I have some great friends, but even though I feel diferent from them, its hard when I am always the worst of them…in visage, in achievements…okey now i realize that I am really looking for my value in achievemts and superficial things. Can you please give me advice what should I do, or just pray for me.
Also I think you are doing great job here. That is amazing idea to create an e-magazine for Christian women:)
Thank you very much,
D.

Dear D.,
Thank you so much for writing. In fact, before I recieved your email, I was thinking about writing an article on this very thing. Your struggle is far more common than you may realize, and while that may not be wholly comforting, know that this battle is truly something that can be overcome in the Lord and for His Glory. There is a war that wages for the territory of our minds and hearts. I would suggest to you that because you are so special to God and because He has a plan for you, you are also a target of the enemy’s attempts to silence your testimony for the Almighty.
The Bible calls satan the “father of lies,” (John 8:44) and these lies are some of his most effective tactics to throw us off our game and doubt our faith, our God, our worth in Christ, etc. Doubt brings shame and shame brings silence, and these two things work to help steal the joy of the Lord in our hearts. Remember, the enemy of your soul can whisper lies… but he is not going to say, “Hey! This is the devil speaking, and you should know that you are a poor excuse for a human being!” If he did, we would quickly recognize our foe and dismiss the sulfur he is spewing. Instead, what is whispered to the ear of our hearts is far more sneaky and often spoken in first person, “I am worthless,” “I am nothing,” “I am so ugly,” “Why am I such a failure?” “I will never get free of this,” “God loves other people more,” “God can use them but not me.” There are half truths, little lies, and even whoppers crafted for each of us to believe, some fairly general, and others more unique to our circumstances. However, it is ALL garbage from the thief who wants to steal our testimony (John 10:10) and keep us from realizing our purpose and worth in Christ. Our enemy is a crafty one, but God is bigger! The Bible says in 1 John 4:4, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One Who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
So, how do you combat this battle for the mind and heart? The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Each time one of these thoughts comes to mind, quickly pray and break agreement with the lie. This can seem tedious, even tiring at times, but God is faithful and as we stand in His truth, the lies will become fewer and less frequent. Tell God you know these thoughts are not true, not from Him and you want no part of believing it any longer. Ask Him for forgiveness for those thoughts that you have believed as truth that do not line up with His Word. Then ask Him to show you who He says you are, and what He believes about you. He will be faithful to do so.
I encourage you to look up verses that talk about our worth in Christ and commit them to memory. Our Jesus answered the lies of the enemy with what? The Word of God! Why? Because it is a powerful weapon to combat lies and is even our help as a discerner of thoughts. (Hebrews 4:12) There is a wonderful web page that lists some great verses to start with at http://encouragingbiblequotes.com/verses2a.html, but try to personally take time to search God out in prayer and Bible study as well. His Words for you will stir your heart, bring joy, and help you stand in the knowledge and faith that you truly are His special, beloved child. You are His favored one, the one who His eyes rest on and whose prayers He hears (I Peter 3:12).
I will be praying for you, and believe that He intends to set you free that you might have life and have it more abundantly in Him! (John 10:10) Remember, you did not choose Him, but He chose YOU dear one! (John 15:16)
In His love,
Jen
12/01/2012

This is my first time on this site. What can I do if my husband, that is saved, has been looking at porn on the intenet? When I say something to him he yells at me and says that he is not looking at it. He says it just pops up, but I never have that happen when I am online.
Y.J.

Dear Sister,
Sadly, porn has not just marched its way into the cyber world, it has mercilessly trampled into the lives and homes of men and women who wouldn’t have otherwise given it the time of day. Why? Because P.C. equates anonymity. There are no embarrassing trips with a periodical covered in black plastic wrap, from the magazine rack to the register where a clerk with a quizzical look (real or imagined) is waiting. No worries of being spotted by a family friend or relative when coming out of the Adult Video store. It is too easy to privately find or even stumble upon the enticing images that await in the “Cloud.”
You husband’s response to you in anger, when you confront him about this issue is concerning and could indicate that he is defensive about what he is really doing online. However, if he is a man that is known to respond this way in other types of situations where he is questioned, he may be being honest, albeit inappropriate. God often gifts women uncanny discernment, so don’t let his denial or anger convince you that you are off base. You can check the search history on the computer your spouse uses, however, you should know that most people (even those that are seemingly computer illiterate) know how to erase their search history.
Honestly though, I don’t believe you need to sleuth here. I think you are well aware of what is happening in your husband’s life and under your own roof. Your greatest weapon against the wiles of the enemy, and his circus of smut, is prayer. Set about finding a woman or women in your church who will allow you to share your concerns with them without judgment, and whom will pray with you. Women who will not only keep these things private, but also ones who you can trust enough to know that they will hold you accountable as well. Focus with them on setting your own heart right in all the areas that God lays on your heart. The prayer of the righteous avails MUCH. If you are walking with God faithfully and obediently, He will hear your prayers. As your husband’s wife, you have authority to pray for his life until he steps up to plate, at that time you will be able to lovingly support him. Pray too that the changes in your own heart and life are visible and more enticing to your husband than anything the world can offer. Pray that he has a hunger and thirst for Jesus that cannot be quenched, and that he has a foul taste in his spiritual mouth for filth. Can you also go to your pastor or an elder that you trust, and ask them to pray for your husband and even confront him about this issue when the time is right? Pray for godly men to befriend and walk along side your husband, men that will hold him accountable and help him to become the man and husband God desires for him to be. These are all godly requests that will bring glory to God and His testimony in your lives, so we can expect God to honor these.
Statistically, it is almost impossible to use the internet regularly and not come away seeing more than you intended. A good start might be to use a browser that prevents pop-ups. You can also purchase services from sites like covenanteyes.com to filter out pornographic content. If your husband truly doesn’t intend to view these things, he should not be resistant to the idea of this sort of help.
If indeed your husband is struggling with looking at porn, be encouraged because the Bible says that greater is He that is in your husband, than he that is in the world. God IS able to overcome all things! Praise God that your husband knows Jesus, and remember that in His eyes this sin is not greater than any other. I am not giving your husband a pass here, I just want to remind you of that because sometimes sins like these in our husband’s lives can cause us much more hurt and insecurity than other mistakes they make. This problem is not too big or too much for our Lord, and we can pray that He does a mighty work in your husband, and we can trust that your prayers will not return to you void!
In His love,
Jen
05/26/2012

I’m a young woman who recently started my walk with Christ last year. As a recent college grad, I used to party and drink often. After joining my church, I stopped going to clubs and cut back on my drinking, but on the rare occasions when I did go out, I would get very drunk and make a fool of myself. I always made a promise to myself that I would cut back but I never promised to stop.
My boyfriend and I have been dating since November, but we have been officially a couple since April of this year. He is great. He treats me like a queen. I have a long history of bad relationships in the past, you know the usual; I’ve been involved with a lot of men who have cheated. My boyfriend is a police officer and works late hours, and works on the weekends often, so we don’t see each other as much as we used to. Well, this weekend, he got called to work last minute so I decided to go out to a club, partly because I was upset that I wouldn’t see him and needed to get my mind off of things. My plan was to drink one glass of wine, but ended up having three drinks (two very strong). Before I knew it, I was very drunk and in no condition to drive. Never the less, I drove home and called my boyfriend to see if I could come over. He was upset with me for drinking and driving and said that it was too late and I was too drunk to be on the road (very good advice). I was hurt because I hadn’t seen him in over a week, and I guess I took it as he was neglecting me and not that he was actually concerned. So, in my anger, I called an ex of mine (who is no good, and never wanted a real relationship with me) and asked if I could come over. He said yes. Long story short, we had sex.
I woke up the next morning and immediately left his house. I feel terrible for three reasons:
1. I hurt someone who I love and care about. After all these years of being cheated on, and knowing how much it hurts to have someone cheat on you, I turn around and do that very thing. I also feel like I ruined my relationship. Even though he doesn’t know, I know and I feel like I deserve anything that he ever does to me.
2. I feel like I disappointed God. I know better, and I know that I’m not myself when I drink, so I should have never let myself go that far
3. I’m disappointed in myself.
I cried and prayed for forgiveness the next day. And I’ve also decided to give up alcohol altogether. I can’t stop after one drink, and I allowed myself to get completely out of control.
My question is: How do I come back from this? I feel like God blessed me with a God man finally, and I messed everything up. I need some encouragement. I’m a firm believer in “You reap what you sow” and I don’t want this negative seed to ruin everything.

Dear Faith,
God loves you. In the coming days, rest in His grace, and ask God to help you do that. (Hebrews 4:14-16) Knowing that when Christ died on the cross for your sins, He died for them all, even those you haven’t committed yet. (1 Peter 3:18) I don’t say this to give you a pass on the bad decisions you have made, you need to be accountable for what you have done – but, you must also delve deep into the Word and your walk with Christ so that you can fully understand how wide, how deep and how complete His love is for you. (Ephesians 3:18) When you begin to understand even the tiniest fraction of who you are in Christ and how He loves you, this knowledge will help you to make better decisions as you lean on Him and trust in Him to complete a good work in you. (Philippians 1:6)
You are right in that you need to stop drinking, and I commend you for understanding and admitting that you have a problem with alcohol. However, there is more to your drinking than just “not being able to stop at one.” This is where you need to do some soul searching with God’s help and the help of a professional. Stopping drinking won’t solve the problem of the void you are trying to fill with alcohol and attention from men. You need the opportunity to learn how to let God heal your heart and life. He has much good to do in you, but He does not want you to try to do this on your own. God calls us to lean on one another, for women to teach one another, to seek fellowship in the church. There are so many blessings waiting for you, if you are willing to open up to your church family. I encourage you to find a good Bible based church if you haven’t already – and if you need help finding one, we can assist you with that. Next, ask your pastor for help. Let him direct you to some counseling offered through him or the church (usually this is free), and to a Christian based AA group. Many churches have these meetings in their buildings. Also, ask him to connect you with women in the church who are willing to talk with you and walk the Christian life with you. Women who will pray with you and help shoulder the burdens of your heart. One of these women may even be willing to attend AA meetings with you. These things and connections are imperative, and will help you to move forward in your life with Christ.
Secondly, I wonder if your boyfriend is a Christian? This is so important. If he is not walking with the Lord, he will not be able to support you in your walk. I also have a personal question. Are you sleeping with your boyfriend? This is another important thing to consider as you walk with God. (remember 1 Corinthians 3:16) Premarital sex has a tragic way of clouding our vision to the things of God, and muffling our ears to His voice. God intends for sex to be wonderful, with our spouses. But when we ignore the warnings of the Lord to wait for marriage, it has devastating and lingering effects on our spirits, and often in our bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:13 & 18) It would be good for you to pray with your pastor or a few godly women in your church, and ask God to not only forgive you for these choices, but to also deliver you from the damage it has done to your heart as well as deliver you from the draw to its empty lies of fulfillment and acceptance.
Lastly, you need to be honest with your boyfriend. I know this is going to be so hard, but he deserves to be able to make some decisions about what he wants, needs and is able to deal with. Withholding this from him will only create a divide between you that will eventually separate you from one another down the road. You must tell him the things that you have said here in your letter. That you have a problem with alcohol and need to get help. That you love him and are so disappointed in yourself for hurting him. That you want to get your life right with God, and will need a relationship that is centered on Jesus once God shows you that you are ready to love a man the way God intended. Yes… I am saying that you should put your love life on hold until you have had a chance to work through some of these problems. I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but it is time to trust God to be ALL that you need. Then, the man He chooses for your life will be a blessing beyond blessings, and you will be that to him as well.
Your boyfriend may choose to forgive you, and wait for you. He may get angry and want some space, but later see the changes in you and want to renew his relationship with you. Or, he may walk away. This will be the hardest thing to accept initially, but you must trust and remember that God has a perfect plan for you, and His way for your life will always far exceed anything you can hope for or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
It is true that our lives can often reap what we have sown… but you must remember that God is bigger than ALL of this. He is the Creator, Master, Healer, and Provider of your life. The Bible tells us that His ways are higher than ours and His thoughts higher than ours. (Isaiah 55:6-11) He has your life in His hands, and WILL use even this tragic mistake for your good! (Romans 8:28) You must take the time to get to know Him, the Lover of your soul. He will teach you to forgive yourself and others the way He has forgiven you, and then dear Sister, you will be able to love yourself and others the way He loves you! Let Him take your life and prune away those things that are holding you back from truly experiencing freedom in Him… pruning is never pain-free, but it always holds the promise of beautiful blossoms and satisfying fruit.
One more thing , and I apologize for being so long winded . I say all these things to you, not out of judgment dear Sister, but out of experience. Nothing you have written here is impossible for God to over come… How do I know? Because He has done it in me. And yes, He will overcome all of this in you as well, if you allow Him.
Blessings, love and prayers for you beloved, He is ABLE!
Jen
05/03/2012

I love reading your q&a! I’m hoping that you can give me “hope” of better days. My parents were killed in a terrible car accident when I was a young mother. They were my only family that were Christians. I am also an only child, so my children now have NO family! I thought that was the worst thing that could happen in my life and then my son died of cancer suddenly. This last year we lost our home in a tornado and are now homeless. I am not even 30 and I have been through the wringer! I feel like I have been able to hold my head up because of God! Most would have gone crazy in my situation but my parents raised me right and with strong roots!! I love my Christian friends, as this has been my only family for years now. I need advice on how to continue to keep my head up and not feel sorry for myself. I get sad because all of our friends have family that they celebrate holidays with, etc., and our children are all alone. It doesn’t feel “fair” sometimes. Pity party of sorts. : (
L.B.

Good gravy… Sis, I am not going to pelt you with platitudes. You don’t need them because you know where your hope lies. I am not going to tell you “chin up,” because you already know that you can’t lift it alone. I am not even going to suggest things will get better, because we both know that only God knows the number of your days and the plans He has for you.
Reading your letter was hard for me. I wanted to scoop you up and hug you (I am a big girl, LOL). I wanted to yell, “Fix it God!!!” Even so, as I revisit your words, I see so much love and hope. Yours, dear Sis, is a testimony and example to all of us of faithfulness to God in this crazy, upside down, frustrating, unfair, and painful world. You have blessed me today, as I see your trust in your Savior, and determination to stay focused on those things that are true and good. (Philippians 4:8)
I think your desire for a family is beautiful, and I believe God desires that for all of us or He would not call us to fellowship. While you miss the closeness of blood kinship, and I cannot begin to fathom your loss; please remember that there is a sweetness that cannot be matched in the finding of chosen family in the body of Christ…

Heavenly Father,
We come before You with grateful hearts. Gratefulness for this Sister and her testimony, and awe at the faith You have sowed so generously in her heart. Lord, we cringe at the idea of loosing and hurting so much, because our flesh is so rooted in this temporal life. We thank You for the life of this one who loves You, continues to hold on to You and press into You for each breath. Let us love You and trust You this way Lord!
Father, would You pour out Your grace and mercy on Your child. She desires family Lord, and we know this is a godly request. We ask that You would choose people from Your house to come up along side this family and love them as their own flesh and blood. Cause each one to open the doors of their hearts and homes to share their lives. Let the richness and fullness of family fill this Sister’s life and the lives of her children.
Father, You are so good and You know how to give good gifts to your children. We ask that You would pour out your blessing upon this family for Your glory. You promise that You will use ALL things for the good of those who love You, according to Your plan and purpose in Christ Jesus! We have seen a glimpse of that goodness through the example of faith demonstrated in this Sister’s life, and we ask that You would continue to reveal the goodness You intend in these tragedies to be abundantly clear in the coming days. We trust this family into Your care and ask that Your Presence would be evident to them and that any sense of loneliness would flee. You are able Lord, and we praise You in advance for what You are about to do!
In Jesus’ Name we pray, amen.

All my love Sis, please let us know how you are doing and how we can continue to pray for you and your children!
Jen
04/03/2012

I was saved yesterday, and now I am worried that I can’t carry out my love for the Lord. How can I get my brain to wrap around this new life? I have a fresh start, but why am I so scared? What should I do?
F.W.

Dear Sis!
REJOICE! Praise Him that you have found your Savior! WOOT!
Let me start by saying, you can’t carry out your love for the Lord. Yes, that is what I said, you can’t. You can’t do it in and of your own strength, but we can do all things through Christ Who gives us strength. You are flesh and flawed just like the rest of us, and we must trust God to do the good work in us that He planned in advance to do! It is His job! Really! Your job is to keep the eyes of your heart focused on Him. You will fail, we all do, but He is there to pick us back up, dust us off and put our feet back on the path He has for us. All we have to do in those circumstances is ask forgiveness and let Him begin again in us afresh. This is the walk, this is sanctification, it is a process filled with His amazing grace, abiding love and unending patience.
I hope you have found a good, solid, Bible teaching church where you can grow and be discipled! Pray and ask God to bring a few godly women into your life that will invest in you and your walk, we will ask for that too. We need people in our Christian walk who are examples of faith and can impart wisdom when we need it. God wants that in your life, so we can trust that He will answer that request. If time allows, seek out a women’s Bible study where you can learn and fellowship, otherwise there are wonderful studies online – check out Beth Moore at www.Lifeway.com
There are so many wonderful verses in the Bible that speak to your questions! I am going to give you a few here. Take a look and see if any grab your heart. You can even write them down on sticky notes and put them up around the house where you can read them often. Soon, you will be able to pull them from your memory banks when you are feeling down, insecure or fearful. Knowing God’s Word is so important so we can pray it over our own lives and the lives of others! The Word of God is your best weapon against doubt and thoughts that are not focused on Christ and His goodness!
We are here for you Sis, and feel so privileged to witness the beginning of your life with Jesus! Please keep in touch and let us know what God is doing in your life and through you! He is able!
In His love,
Jen
03/30/2012

A few verses to remember:

Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the LORD with all your heart 
and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Corinthians 4:7, But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Ephesians 2:4-10, But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Philippians 4:4-9, Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:13, I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

2 Timothy 1:7, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

My husband has not yet accepted Christ. He does attend church regularly though, but thinks he should be perfect before accepting Christ and have to live a rigid pharisee life after baptism. It’s more like a self-righteous life. However, he believes that God is answering his prayers, but he never takes the time to read the Bible or pray during our family prayer time.
It’s so discouraging at this time, especially since we are going through financial stress as I have lost my job and it is almost a year. I used to earn more as an Occupational therapist and it is difficult to mange with one salary. I beleive that God has promised me a future and a hope, and that is the promise I get from God time and again during this time of waiting. I’m really struck as I don’t know what to do and feel helpless in this situation. Any godly advice would help!
Thank you!
J.A.

Dear Sister,
I hear your heart. Your frustrations are mounting and it can feel so lonely when we are unequally yoked. BUT! God tells us in His Word to give thanks in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and really, this can rejuvenate hearts and minds and refresh weary souls. When we obey this crazy command to focus the eyes of our hearts on Him and look for His hand and blessing in our seemingly hopeless circumstances, He responds and gives us strength through His joy… joy Sister, in exchange for mourning.
When I look at your letter, I see good, good things. Your husband is going to church… WOW! I guarantee that there are many women reading this that wish that prayer has been answered for their spouse. While his theology may be lacking, he is still interested in hearing the truth. Knowing he has not received Christ, I would suggest you not hold it against him that he is not praying with you and your family. Without the saving grace of Jesus, he is not ready to be the spiritual leader in your family or even participate. But we CAN ask God to reveal His truth to your husband and bust down the walls of false doctrine, so he too can experience the unfathomable grace of Christ! He is able!
I recently heard a beautiful sermon that may help to dismantle some of these distorted and unattainable ideas of your husband’s. A sermon that shows us we are being sanctified in this life and it is a process, so we will not be made perfect until God takes us home. It tells us that our failures do not disqualify us from the saving grace of Jesus or our opportunity to serve Him! It reveals how our failures can help us to grow in Christ and even be used of God to minister to others! You can find the sermon at the link below. If your husband won’t listen, take heart, and listen to it yourself so that when God gives you the opportunity, you may share these truths with him.
Secondly, financial stress is the perfect opportunity for you to see first hand the provision of the Lord! It gives us occasion to pray that God uses this situation to turn your husband’s heart to the Him. Yes, God HAS given you a future and a hope! It is here, and it is NOW! Remember, He can use ALL things for your good because you love Him! Know that He loves your husband more than you ever could, and does not want him to be lost, but wants you to experience walking in Christ together. Our God is notorious for using difficulty to turn hearts to Him, and so, we can rejoice in this trial and ask that it be used in mighty ways for God’s glory, testimony and the salvation of your husband!
In the meantime, I would love for you to read Stormie Omartian’s book, The Power of a Praying Wife. This will give you comfort and also teach you how to effectively pray for your husband. Oh dear Sis, your husband is so blessed to have you! He may not recognize it now, but one day he will realize how deeply loved he truly is. Continue seeking after God and investing spiritually for your spouse and your efforts will not return to you void. God sees and knows your heart for Him, and He will show Himself faithful.
In His abiding love,
Jen
03/28/2012

Sermon mentioned above, simply copy and paste in your address bar: http://firstfree.org/index.php?option=com_sermonspeaker&view=sermon&id=10194:romans-pt-18&Itemid=ss_itemid

Good morning Jen. My heart is heavy and confused. My fiance struggles with an addiction and because of it, he has found himself in a heap of legal trouble. I know that he doesn’t want this for himself, but as we all know, the addiction is a powerful vehicle. His family has given up on him and my family feels I should do the same. But I don’t believe in kicking a person when they’re down, and if ever someone is in need of support and encouragement, it is when they are trying to beat an addiction. I do have boundaries, so I have not slipped into the codependent mode. But once upon a time, I was at that point, trying to control his every move. It was pointless and I learned to let go and let God do his wonders with him. But here lately, those feelings of betrayal, hurt, pain and disappointment have resurfaced and I’m not feeling very supportive. I share the Gospel with him whenever he calls because I want him to stay encouraged. He is a wonderful individual who feels rejected, lost and unworthy. He has said himself that he always somehow manages to destroy any good that comes into his life because he doesn’t know how to accept it. I want what’s best for him and so does he. He’s broken and he’s sick and my prayer is that God delivers him from the addiction and restore his soul and renews his spirit. How can I continue to be encouraging while trying very hard not to harbor the bitterness and resentment that his devastating behavior has caused? Please pray for us.
Tearfully,
V.P.

Dear Sis,
There are so many things to think about here, and we have given it a lot of prayer, although my response to you may not be what you were hoping for.
While it seems noble and compassionate to stay by your fiancé’s side through the struggle with his addiction, there are a couple things that indicate this may be the time to reconsider. First, he is not your husband. Bottom line. If he were, this letter to you would be completely different, and encouraging you as you walk with this man and wait on the Lord. However, because he is not, we must take into consideration your own emotional health. Are you truly ready to live with the consequences of this man’s addiction for the rest of your life; or is it possible that God has brought this all into His light of truth to protect you and give you an opportunity of escape? A life with this man will undoubtedly be one of struggle and difficulty, especially since he is not in recovery, and the pain of what he has done has already begun to discolor the joy of sharing in a relationship.
Secondly, this is addiction. Sis, addiction is a whole different animal than standing beside and supporting a man who has lost a job, gotten physically ill, or suffered something out of his control. Tragedies like these are hard, but the man is still able to choose well, remain in control of his reactions with God’s help, and follow after the Lord. Addiction is a battle for the mind and a battle of will and self-control on the battlefield of desire for that thing (such as alcohol, drugs, sex, porn, gambling, etc.) coming into play with every decision. The difference between the addict and the person who has suffered fateful circumstances is where their first priority lies… The addict, unless recovering, is bound to the thing that controls him; the addiction comes first, before God and before you.
I have known a number of addicts, and I have worked with many as a nurse. One thing that stands out, is that most of those who were successful in beating their addiction, lost everything before being able to do it. Loss was the motivator, and the anger, grief, or even destitution that followed was what drove them to find change in themselves and set out on a new course in life.
My advice may seem lackluster, but it is to simply seek the Lord for His answer in this. The hard part, and mountain climb in that advice, is to obey. You may have already been given that answer through godly people, but not want to hear it. Are you supposed to be supporting this man in his addiction, even only emotionally; or is your support enabling him to avoid change? Is your love and compassion a salve for his wounds and pointing him to the feet of Jesus; or is it allowing him enough security to ignore his problem? Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for a person is to step away, place them in the Father’s hands, and love them through prayer alone. If this man has continued for a long time in this addiction, it may be possible that he has not yet seen the true consequence of his actions because he has not lost what is most important to him besides the addiction… You.
I understand your hurt and bitterness, I have been where you are. Forgiveness is a difficult thing until we find out what the true definition of it is. Until I realized that forgiveness is to free my heart, to lift the burden and weight of the one who harmed me off my shoulders, and unshackle me from the pain they caused, I struggled to follow God’s direction. Here is the crazy thing though… Once I was able to forgive, I was free to truly love the person who hurt me! So, while you may feel as though you are loving your fiancé, it may just be that you are acting out of feeling sorry for him, obligation or even guilt. These motives will never help him, and they will never free you. It is truly ok to step back during this time, and redefine your relationship until this man is changed and recovering. You also need to decide if you truly want to put your life on hold and wait, and there should be no guilt in either decision unless you are going against what God has directed you to do.
There is a wonderful book I would like to recommend to you, it is Total Forgiveness, by R.T. Kendall. This book has been a blessing to me in learning exactly what forgiveness is and what love in forgiveness looks like, and how to find it in my own heart. I hope you will read it and be blessed by the wisdom there as I have. There is also another book that is a perfect follow-up, How to Forgive Ourselves Totally, by the same author. Forgiving ourselves is even more difficult at times, but when we do, we actually help protect ourselves from those who might otherwise harm us, because we can more clearly see ourselves as God does… His beautiful creation, bought with love through the ultimate price.
Please let us know (via Questions for Jen) how you are doing and if this was helpful to you.
In His love,
Jen
03/20/2012

April makes 13 years married. I come from sexual abuse in my childhood and drugs in my past. I have been clean seven years. My husband suffers with sex addiction and he make bad decisions when it comes down to our income. I don’t want to keep taking my son around this circle of water getting turn off, lights getting turn off. My son went through the school year with one pair of shoes and sometimes had to wear my clothes. My husband loves the Lord but he struggles because of generational curses and his ego. We do not have a church home. Really gas is an issue because we have no friends or family near us. Please, I need support.

Dear Sister,
I am so glad you wrote to CWO. We are so thankful for the privilege to be able to pray with you and for you and your family. In reading your request, I was overwhelmed by the things that you have endured and continue to face. It is a beautiful thing to see you seek after God and His plan for you in all of this. He is able, and He promises that He has a future and a hope for you! Jeremiah 29:11 needs to be close to your heart in the days to come.
It took me a few days to respond to you, because I was trying to see exactly where God wanted us to point our noses and sniff out the first steps of walking with Him in faith on this. There is a lot to be distracted by here; past hurts, addictive personalities, raising a son, financial difficulties, and concerns about basic needs being met. However, I think it comes down to one small sentence hidden in the letter you wrote, at least initially. Want to know what it is? “We do not have a church home.”
Sis, this is where you need to begin this new day and new walk. You need to be surrounded by your family in Christ. The very best churches are those filled with people who admit to and desire to leave pasts like yours and your husband’s behind. People who are living victorious in Jesus, boasting in Him and the pit from which He has lifted them. If the people in a church body don’t proclaim their past with passion and thankfulness so they may illuminate the grace and power of Christ, then move on to the next. It is in a church body that shares honestly and openly, that you will find healing, accountability and support. Men will come along side your husband and encourage him and walk with him, as he is freed from the chains that bind him. Women will love you and comfort you and teach you how to pray most effectively for your spouse and son. Your son will make relationships with children who like him for who he is, not what he wears. Many churches now offer marital and family counseling, and teach classes in finance and how to be good stewards of the blessings God has given us. Yes, there is no such thing as a perfect church because they are filled with humans made of flesh. But if we pray, and ask our Father to provide you with a church home as I have described, we will see Him move and direct. He wants this blessing in your life and that is why we need to heed Hebrews 10:25. He will use you to bless others and them to bless you. This is what the family of God is all about.
I am not suggesting quick fixes and all problems solved tomorrow. Although miracles are wonderful and still very much part of the body, much of the blessing can also come in watching as God molds, reshapes and transforms His people over time. Just like watching our children inch up, and all of a sudden we exclaim, “WOW! When did you grow so much?!” There is a similar joy and blessing in spiritual growth as well!
I think God is calling you to depend on Him for today. A dear friend of mine always reminds me, “Don’t borrow trouble from another day.” Focus the eyes of your heart on Jesus; ask for His direction continually throughout the day, and for help to put down the troubles of the past and possibilities of the future. Ask Him to give you the faith and grace you need for today and begin again. He will direct your path and give you wisdom for this situation as you ask and trust in Him for it. Please read and consider Luke 12:22-32, and Proverbs 3:5-6, they are probably verses you have heard before, but ask God to open your heart to the message in them afresh.
Is there a good, solid Bible based church near you? Would your husband and son be willing to start attending with you? Are you and your family willing to share your story, weaknesses, need, and ask for help in a safe place and church? If so, we would love to help you find a new church home in your area if you need our assistance.
Be encouraged Sis, this is the beginning, not the end. God loves you!
In His love,
Jen
03/09/2012

 Help! My youngest daughter is bi-polar and living in sin she is going to have a baby in June. She refuses to go to church but says she believes in God she was babtized when she was 12. My oldest daughter is married and miscarried twice last year. She is so angry at her sister and is thinking about not inviting her “sick” sister to her house, not coming to a baby shower for her, not acknowledging the baby or her sister except in my home when “it’s a holiday.” She says her husband will go along with what she decides the consequences of her sister’s behavior have forced her to do. She says she has prayed about it and she has kept silent and I should not be hurt if she refuses to have anything to do with her sister. But I am hurt! It concerns me greatly, her spiritual state (unforgiveness) her hateful remarks (under the disguise of love for me) please help me do you have any advice? The oldest one attends church on a regular basis!

Dear Mama,
This is so difficult, it is so hard when our kids fight or are angry with one another. It gives us a feeling of being out of control like few other things in life. You cannot convince your older daughter to do the right thing, the Holy Spirit has to do that, but we can certainly ask Him to intervene. Unfortunately, many of us in anger, hide behind piety and self-righteousness to validate our emotions. We need to pray against this on your daughter’s behalf, and ask God to remove all false hedges and armaments that she is hiding behind. We need to ask that God not allow her to use His Name and the power of His might and judgment in a sinful and destructive way. My heart breaks for her deep want for a baby, let’s pray that this natural and wonderful, God given desire to be a mother, not be allowed to turn into bitterness and jealousy.
I am reminded of the story in the Bible when the disciples shooed the little children away from Jesus, and He stopped them and said, “Let the little children come unto Me.” Our Jesus did not say let the “good children,” the “chosen children,” the “pretty children” or even the “legitimate children” come. No, He included them all. Dear Mama, He is including your grandchild as well, and while this trouble is unsettling and so sad, you must put your faith in knowing that His love for this child, that He created, is enough. He is sufficient.
Let’s pray for your daughter that she realizes this little one had no choice in their circumstance. Let’s ask that this sweet lamb be an incredible blessing to a new Auntie, who desperately wants and needs a relationship with a child. This baby could be such a blessing to your daughter, and she to this child. Let’s ask God for that. Let’s ask Him that He give her the softest, widest, deepest place of love in her heart. That she loves her sister’s child as her own, and that this baby’s life marks the beginning of healing the wounds in both women and their relationship with one another, their families and their God. He is able!
In His love, Jen

My Daughter is a divorced woman and she has met a gentelman that she has fallen in love with and has been engaged with for a year now and living together. They do not want to marry for financial reasons but she wants to know if they were to die right now would they go to heaven? They would like to have some kind of ceremoy to exchange vows to one another with all the family present but not anything by law!

Dear Sister,
Anytime finances become a greater priority than honoring a relationship and one another, there should be great concern.  Finance is the greatest statistical reason for divorce, and the majority of live-in relationships, that do eventually marry, end in divorce as well… So, this relationship already has some statistical strikes against it, and sadly is being set up for failure.  I hate to sound so harsh, but we need to be honest here, and look at the situation realistically.  Everyone newly in love, walking into this same trap, feels invincible in their love and secure in their future.  So, it would likely be very difficult at this time to convince your daughter otherwise.  That is why we need our Lord!

However, in regard to her question about salvation, my heart breaks for her.  It is good that she is questioning the decision she has made.  However, it is sad that while she obviously knows this isn’t the best choice for her life, she is still trying to weigh just how much damage it will cause and if it will be worth it.  I can’t tell her or you if her salvation is secure, we are clearly told in God’s Word that we are to leave that judgment up to the Lord.  I made the same  mistake as your daughter when I was younger, and while I don’t believe I lost my salvation, in my willful sin, I definitely separated myself from the blessing God had for my life during that time.  I liken it to God standing in a rainstorm and inviting us under His umbrella of protection.  We are able to come and go out from under that protection as we like, but if we choose to step away from Him and step out from under His protection, we will face the consequences and get drenched by the troubles of this world.  Not to say that we don’t have troubles when we are living for the Lord, but when living for Him, there is also this undeniable assurance that He is in control and will use those things for our good.  When we willfully step away, we are often left to our devices, and that is not a very secure or comforting way to live – it is a life that lacks the joy and peace found in the presence of our Heavenly Father.

I know your mama’s heart wants to intervene, shake some sense into her, and let that young man know that he is dishonoring your daughter…  However, I can tell you that the very best love you can give her, is what my grandma did for me.  When she and I would get together, she would take an opportunity each time to tell me that she did not agree with the way I was living my life, but that her love for me and God’s love for me would never change, that she was praying for me and knew that someday I would follow after the Lord. She was right, but she also knew that I would face the consequences of those choices, and some were very costly and remain with me today.  Even so, God can redeem us, He is able to do all things, even more than we are able to think or imagine!  So, let’s do the very best and most loving thing for your daughter, and pray:

Father, would you please pour out Your peace that passes all understanding to guard the heart and mind of this mama in Christ Jesus. Assure her of Your love and presence.  Assure her that You know her daughter and love her far more than can be imagined.  You do not want this one to be lost, You do not want her fiancé to be lost.  We thank You and praise You for that truth!  Father, we ask that You would pursue this couple and fiercely go after their hearts and minds.  Show them Your way and let them see that to honor one another in marriage far outweighs the temporal financial gain of living together.  Show them the cost of this choice and allow them to escape it in Your grace and mercy before too much is lost, especially the love they have for one another.  If this relationship is not in Your plan Father, then we ask that You would make this clear to this couple as well, and help them dissolve it before too much damage is done.  Father we know You love them, and can do all things, so we lay these two in Your loving and mighty hands and ask for Your will, direction and plan alone.  We thank You and praise You in advance for what You will do in these lives!  In Jesus Precious Name, amen.

Here is a link to a good and clearly stated article about some of the dangers of living together before marrying: http://www.smartmarriages.com/cohabit.html